The Chairs by the Fireplace

Let’s start over,” he whispered as his thumb traced her dry knuckles. Her lips pursed in a question and her eyes were red from crying.

I am not sure I want to. Not with you.” She exhaled as if she just released a part of herself she didn’t realize was fighting against her.

When your boss sends you to clean the lobby, one can always expect to find more than full trashcans and empty cream carafes. I have witnessed a lot of crucial moments in relationships: first dates, fights, and potential reconciliations. The body language was always the same with these couples that were struggling to hold on to one another amidst their tornado of issues. Regardless of gender, age, or skin color, a person in love has the same facial expression when their guts fall on the floor as their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend walks out the café entrance.

Rachel didn’t want to start over, Rick did.

I do not know what happened between the two of them. But as she questioned aloud whether or not his feelings were true, I felt the tugging desire to tell her that in fact he did. I could tell by the look that I had seen so many times before in these chairs by the fireplace.

It was one time baby. Please, don’t do this. I can make it better, just please give me a chance.” His bit his bottom lip as he fought the surging need convulsing in his throat to release an emotion that men in our society are taught to repress.

Rachel let go of his hand in a quick flick of her wrist, as if to literally throw him away. She stood up abruptly and grabbed her coat. Rick maintained a firm gaze with her chair, seemingly mystified at its emptiness.

I am not sure if they ever reconnected; or if he got his act together as he promised even in her absence. The only thing I am sure of is Rick stayed in the store for another four hours till we closed, staring at the chair and willing himself not to cry.

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