A February Saturday This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "As simple as that?"

"As simple as that." And hebounded out of the room and out of her life.

Not wanting to bring herselfto accept the obvious, she struggled to push it from her mind. Then, failing toaccomplish that, she went over the conversation again and again. Each time it washarder to believe he wasn't coming back.

She bolted upright from herslumped position. This was no way to end. She stumbled clumsily out of the room,sliding on the tile floor, and jumped into her white convertible Mercedes. Nottaking the usual caution in pulling out of her driveway, she allowed splotches ofmud to fly up and splash her immaculate white-wall tires. Some things were moreimportant than material things. She didn't know what she was going to do, butshe'd get him back. He would accept her with open arms.

The weather thatday was uncommonly balmy for a Saturday in February. Bikers and walkers dottedthe streets of downtown Boston. The glare from the 2 p.m. sun glistened on thePrudential Building, making it especially difficult for motorists to find theirway. Bargainers and war pamphlets were everywhere. Unfortunately, so were theBoston Police. She wanted to get to him as quickly as possible and correct theserious wrong that had been done. How could she have just sat there and let himoverpower her like that? She always let that happen. Like all the times they wentout to dinner and he, being the man, would order for her. She said nothing then.She just ate her squid or garnished liver without complaint. Why did she let himwalk all over her? Always being her own person was what drew others to her.Friends used to envy her independence. Now look at her. The same demanding,arrogant, unyielding man who had manipulated her for two years wanted out. Andfor what reason?

"Well, you and I, we're just old. Our relationship -it bores me. Know what I mean?"

"Yeah. There are no moresurprises; no anxious moments. We know exactly what the other is going to do allthe time."

Predictable, she thought as she cruised down the balloonand flower-trimmed boulevard. I'm predictable. "Peace in the MiddleEast" banners hung on sides of buildings. Yellow ribbons flailed from treesand car antennae. How selfish he had been to think of his own happiness when herwhole family was traumatized by her brother's being stationed in the PersianGulf. Did he know how rough the war had been on her family? He didn't care. Hewas a year older than those who could be drafted. Perhaps that is why he caredlittle for the nameless, faceless soldiers.

True, he had some badqualities. But she loved him. She was going to show him that she could bespontaneous. Going over to his house was not predictable. She pulled her car overand parked close to the curb. Feeding the money-hungry meter, she twisted itshandle with the energy of her plan. Spotting an elderly Italian man with apushcart of flowers, she hailed him down. With her instruction, the clerk lifteda dozen red roses from the bucket and wrapped them beautifully. Her face waselectric with bubbling anticipation. He would be sure to take her back now. Thisstunt was not true to her dull nature, which he had so eloquentlydescribed.

The walk to his apartment seemed endless. Was she making amonstrous mistake? Maybe he really meant it was over. Perhaps this was a badidea. But she had come so far. She had to know if they were meant tobe.

The worried woman greeted oncomers with a smile to hide heruneasiness. They smiled back. No one was feeling glum on such a gloriously sunnyday. The strangeness of the day paralleled her plan. She thought of his face athis apartment door. There she would stand, the sun glimmering about her frombehind. The roses in her grip would be crushed when he smothered her with hishug. As she thought about his reaction, her footsteps became lighter. The jump inher step that he loved so much returned. Her self-esteem that he once stripped from herwas back. I am my own person, she thought. She was going to march right up to himand say it. He would be dumbstruck, but he would respect her. That's what theirrelationship was in dire need of - respect. It would be she who would save thecouple. How relieved he would be that he really didn't loseher.

Cheerfully, with a renewed sense of security, she walked up thestairs. A faint whistle chirped from her lips. She passed the mailman on his waydown. He nodded a friendly hello. She compared her visit to that of themailman's. They each brought unexpected news that made someone happy. As sheclimbed the flights of dirt-covered steps to the fourth floor, her thoughts againrushed through her.

"There's nothing you could do that would trulycatch me off guard. I know you too well. All of your attempts at variation havefailed."

He was referring to the time that she wanted to throw asurprise party for his twenty-fifth birthday. When he walked in the door, heyelled, "Surprise!" along with everyone else. But she had tried. Sheknew he needed spontaneity. Well, this time he'd get it. He'd be caught off guardfor sure.

As she approached the entrance of the fourth floor hallway, herheart dropped. This was it. She was going to tell the man she loved that hewasn't going to toss her aside so brusquely.

His apartment was facing herat the end of a seemingly endless hallway. She began the journey ever so slowly.Every deliberate step was heavier than the last. The numbers on the doors jumpedout at her. Three children playing jacks in the hall seemed to stop what theywere doing and turn their heads to steal a look at the woman. Was their attentionbecause of her obvious beauty that had always been her forte, or could thesechildren tell that a monumental occurrence was about to take place? Either way,she stepped up to his door, number 420, caught her breath and gathered heremotions. In all her anxiety, she didn't notice the note on the door. As sheraised her trembling hand to knock, she caught a glimpse of the yellow stick-upnote. It read, "Hi honey. Sorry I missed you. Leave the flowers here."There was an arrow pointing down. Her sparkling, tear-filled green eyes followedthe arrow to an empty crystal vase in front of the door. It was a wonder shedidn't put her foot in it. How did he know? But, she did as she was told anddragged herself back down the hall, past the children playing, who were no doubtlooking at her and feeling sorry now. She trudged down the stairs to her car. Hermeter had expired and a flagrant "VIOLATION" signaled her. That waspretty much how she felt - expired and violated. She awkwardly fell into her carin a daze, and drove home wearily. Her attempt at impulsiveness and spontaneitywas in vain. He figured her out again. The reason he had not been there wasprobably so he could save himself from the boredom, she thought to herself. Thenote he left her made a shambles of her ego.

It was amazing how dark theday seemed to get, as if the sun only lived for her happiness. She ignored theflowers and balloons, but said a prayer for her brother as she passed the yellowribbons. Life would not be so hard being single.



She pulled thecar into her Broadway Street driveway and walked into her empty house. She hadthe urge for a cup of coffee. Trudging into the kitchen, she encountered afreshly-brewed pot. A card next to the coffee maker read, "Dinner tonight,7: 30. Order what YOU like" The sun bounded out from behind a melancholygray patch. As she sat down to drink her coffee, she saw the two dozen roses onthe table. He always did have to outdo her.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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