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 “I don’t think this can work between us anymore…”

I never thought that these would be the last words I’d ever speak. I always imagined my last words would be something along the lines of ‘Always show love and kindness to people’ or ‘Make your own children happy to love you.’ I, like anyone else, imagined that my last words would be uttered on my deathbed as I was surrounded by loved ones; children, grandchildren, some friends that stayed till the end, a couple of well-wishers meaning well. Maybe it’d be just my kids and that’d be the end of it. Either way, I imagined it’d be a fulfilling moment that would allow me to look back on my life and imagine that despite my flaws and shortcomings I had been able to make meaningful impacts.

But instead, I’m here; in a car flying off a cliff, with my ex-girlfriend at the wheels. I don’t know if calling her my ex is appropriate at this point. Heck, I don’t know if it’s appropriate to be thinking about what’s appropriate at this time.

Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. I imagine this is what those poets or whatever they were meant when they said your life flashes before your eyes when you’re on the throes of death. Or maybe they were talking about something else.

Oddly enough, my life didn’t flash before my eyes. The last hour did; all the things said, words exchanged, emotions felt. Before my eyes, I saw other possible ways that things could’ve turned out. The different words that could’ve been used to prevent what led to the shouts and embarrassments and the drive which turned into a dive into oblivion.

How did it go wrong with Claire and I? I wish I knew. We were quite wonderful together. It wasn’t magical or something out of a fairytale story, but it had the right markings of a relationship that was made to evolve into something blissful and fulfilling. I can still remember my first voyage into her eyes. I had been reading a paperback and she calmly asked me about it and wanted a quick synopsis there and then. Her rapt attention caught me by surprise; I had heard of beautiful ladies that were bookworms, but never did I expect one to actually ask me for a synopsis.

We managed to keep in touch, thanks to our mutual fondness of books, and managed to even become friends. It wasn’t until much later, after we had both had our own fun with the opposite sex a couple of times, that we decided to give ‘us’ a try. And it worked. I had interests she could show interest in and she had likes that I could grow to like also. We respected ourselves well enough and knew boundaries when we saw them. We stayed together for over 2 years. And frankly, that year took a turn towards the gutter.

I don’t know when the loving, supporting couple was replaced with nonchalant, demeaning people. I don’t know when sweet Claire got replaced by the hot-tempered lady I had never before met in my life. I had my own faults, but I never raised my voice to prove a point. I never went the route of violence. But Claire… Claire somehow learned how to break things.

I could go over the grievances and the fights and the harsh words said, but why bother… My mind’s eye was more concerned about my last ride on earth.

Claire had decided we meet at a restaurant. She was trying, to some degree, to see if we could find some middle ground. She really wanted the relationship to work, she told me. She missed me. She was sorry for her outbreaks. She felt bad about her temper. She was in anger management. I had heard all these before and had got sucked into the vortex several times. I was trying to stay supportive, but I didn’t have it in me. I told her as much. She began to blow up in the restaurant before she realized what she was doing and calmed herself. I don’t know how, but Claire convinced me to take a ride with her. She wanted to prove to me that she was getting things under control.

She was not.

She started pecking at how I was trying to leave her and go despite all we had been through together, and I tried to tell her calmly that I wasn’t leaving. We were having a break, which had been her idea in the first place.

“You could’ve refuted,” she said.

“I did. You broke a vase in the process.”

“That was the old me. No need to bring it up.”

“I didn’t. I just answered your accusation with my reason for backing down.”

“Are you saying you fear me?”

“No… I’m saying I was being cautious.”

Then… out of nowhere, she looked at me with some disdain and said; “You could’ve had some balls and stopped me. I thought you wanted us to work.”

And at that moment something snapped in me. I think I had reached my boiling point with all the demeaning words and blames taken over the years. 

“I don’t think this can work between us anymore…” I had replied, with as much coolness as I could muster. “I think we should end this.”

The silence that followed was almost deafening, if not for the gentle hum of the AC. And then out of nowhere, Claire pushed down on the accelerator. I tried to open the door, but she had locked them all. Trying to break the window yielded nothing, and I was forced to watch as she sped off the road and crashed through the guard rail. And then we were in the air, falling down towards the water and jagged rocks below.

I looked at Claire with horror and saw tears falling freely from her eyes, the drops floating upwards with our downwards plunge. I had said my last words, and when she said hers to me, I closed my eyes and waited for the end.

“If I can’t have you… no one else will…” 


Published inFictionShort Stories

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