“So what happened?”

He looked over at her. She was looking directly at him, almost challenging him.

He sighed, “Nothing happened.” He shrugged. “That was most of it. I got complacent. Not even complacent really. I became sort of frozen in place. And I worked so hard to make things easy for her that I took away all her strength”

“Bullshit.”

His head snapped up. “How would you know?”

“I know it’s never just one person. I’ve never been married but I’ve been in relationships and when they fall apart it’s never completely one persons fault.

“I didn’t say it was all my fault.” He paused and dropped his head. “Ok, maybe all I said were the things I did. It’s easier for me to blame myself than her.”

“So what really happened?”

“What I said. And more. I mean she wasn’t honest. She never told me how she was feeling. She…” He shrugged again. “Doesn’t matter so much. I tried to keep things as perfect as I could and that locked us in place. She fell out of love. Then she finally realized she had to leave.”

“You’re still taking all the blame. You say she was at fault but you don’t believe it. You’re so damned arrogant.”

His head snapped up. “Arrogant?”

“Yep. You’re not the only one that reads people. You think everything is your fault because, partly, you think you’re the only competent one around. Anything that goes wrong must be your fault because no one else is smart enough or good enough or strong enough or whatever enough to have a handle on things the way you do. You’re an arrogant control freak.”

“Yeeaahh…” He stood. “I think we’re done here.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I still like you well enough. And from what I’ve seen a lot of that arrogance is justified. But from what I’ve seen, the people who think they’re the worst are just like the ones who think they’re the best. It makes them special in their own minds. And the ones who feel like they’re carrying the burdens of the world,” she waved her hands around flamboyantly on that last phrase, “tend to do that because somewhere in their minds or hearts or souls is something that thinks they are the only ones who possible could carry all those burdens.”

“I didn’t mean to piss you off,” she said to his retreating back.

“Yes you did,” he said without turning around. “And you did it well. But you might be right too.”

Just as he disappeared into the darkness of the surrounding azaleas he said, “See you tomorrow.”

 

She smiled.

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