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My Anorexic Ex-Girlfriend
I met her at a diner because it seemed to me that diners are where all the white trash struggling couples meet. I was fighting a hangover that morning and really didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone go get my heart ripped out but I figured I would never truly be ready so then was as good a time as any. When I got there she was sitting there staring at a milkshake. I sat down with my sunglasses still on, much to the displeasure of our elderly waitress, partly because of the hangover and partly because I had a fresh black eye. Apparently I had gotten into a fight the night before. Badass.
I sat down and ordered two cheeseburgers and a coke. She watched me order with nervous eyes. She looked so frail. Her blonde hair hung about her gaunt face loosely and grazed over her bony shoulders. She was so beautiful and so ugly. I wanted to kiss her but I decided not to. I didn’t want to discourage myself.
“Hey,” she smiled nervously.
“Hey yourself,” I smiled and it was genuine.
“You look good,” she observed politely.
“Liar,” I smirked. She looked away and chuckled. Then she looked back at me and laughed harder. I laughed, too.
“Aren’t you gonna lie to me, too?” she asked playfully.
“Nah,” I replied, “You know me better than that.”
Her smile faded and she stared at her milkshake. I leaned forward.
“You look beautiful,” I lied. She blushed but didn’t look at me. We sat there in silence for a few minutes. Then she grabbed my hands and looked me in the eyes. I was glad I had my sunglasses on.
“You know I’m sorry, right?” she asked. “I never wanted… I never meant… I didn’t try to-“
“It’s okay,” I interrupted, “Shh, shh. It’s okay. I’m not mad at you. Honestly, I never expected a happily ever after from this. I’ve always known that this would end in hurt. I was just so scared that it would be my fault. That it would be me hurting you. As weird as it sounds, I’m actually kind of relieved.”
She looked at me with confusion. Tears welled up over the brim of her eyes and spilled onto her cheeks. Her grip on my hands tightened and her eyes looked desperate.
“But,” she stammered, “But I don’t want this to end.”
I reached up and wiped away her tears. Her lip quivered and she twitched ever so slightly. I smiled comfortingly.
“Yes you do.”
She opened her mouth to protest but I slid my fingers down to her lips and continued.
“Yes you do,” I repeated, “And that’s okay. I accept it. I’m fine, honestly. We both need to move on. We both do.”
She looked at me like she wanted to say something but she didn’t know what so instead she just cried. I could feel tears brimming in my own eyes and once again I was glad I had sunglasses.
The waitress brought my food. I slid the second burger in her direction without looking at her and began eating my own. She kept looking from me to the burger and back again. I didn’t make eye contact.
“Aren’t you gonna tell me to eat?” she asked. I didn’t pause my munching.
“You know I don’t tell you what to do,” I told her. She didn’t say anything more. I finished my burger quickly and stood up to leave. She looked up at me and her eyes were screaming but she still didn’t say anything. I leaned down and kissed her on the cheek.
“Bye, Grace, love,” I whispered. Then I turned and walked away. I had planned not to look back. I was afraid of what I’d see and I also kind of wanted to seem cool. But when I got to my car I looked at her through the window anyway. She was taking a big bite out of her burger. I smiled and got into my car. As I pulled away I said to myself,
“Don’t choke on it.”