“Are you seriously breaking up with me,” she asked,
her voice cracking,
speaking just a little too loudly
so that strangers nearby turned their heads
with raised eyebrows,
“because I’ve read a lot of Charlaine Harris books?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he hissed,
embarrassed at the attention.
“You’re making a scene.”
“You’re the star of this SCENE,”
A mother hurriedly ushered her small child away.
The woman at the information desk furrowed her brows,
unsure if she should get her manager involved.
“We should go somewhere else, somewhere more private
to talk,” he implored in a near whisper.
“Why?” she asked.
“You’re implying that you’d rather not spend any more time
with me in private.”
She wished that they had been in the café
so that she could have punctuated this sentence by throwing
a steaming latte in his face.
Instead they were standing (ironically) in the Romance Section
of a large, suburban chain bookstore.
“See?” he replied, his voice a little louder now too,
but he quickly grew self-conscious.
“This is exactly what I’m talking about. You can’t deal
with problems like a grown-up.”
She grew tired of the condescension,
stormed away from him,
walked across the store,
hot tears blurring her vision,
picked up the first book she saw.
A New York travel guide.
Flipped past full-color photographs
of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building,
staring blankly at restaurant reviews.
Three stars out of five,
“A great place to take a date.”
He stood helplessly where she had left him.
Everyone else had forgotten this domestic drama.
He was obviously in the way of a middle-aged woman
who appeared very serious about her romance novels.
It would make sense just to leave her here,
but she was his ride home.