She shifted her weight to one side, cocked her head to the other, and stared at him. It was that type of stare that women gave when they didn't know just what to say. She sure didn't. Her tongue pressed against the inside of her cheek, as it always did when she was angry.
Why wouldn't you be? She asked herself as she examined his slouched posture. She always hated that. She hated quite a lot of things about him actually, and it wasn't all about the way he looked either. Just stay calm, she told herself, you can't lose control in front of the kids.
But even as she thought that, she knew that she wanted to. She wanted to yell and throw a fit, and tell him what a huge mistake he was making. She wanted to let him know how she had settled when she chose him, gave him a chance because she saw promise. She wanted him to see how unfair he was being. So damned unfair!
"Why are you doing this?" she whined.
He sighed. "Don't make this difficult, Sara."
Difficult? Is he serious? Thoughts of what she should do—what would be fitting—swarmed in her mind. She mentally played out a scene in which she somehow managed to get him on his knees, and then knocked the wind out of his jaw with her kneecap over and over again. She then kicked him to the floor, and as he squirmed and moaned, she spat in his face. It was suitable treatment for a pig.
Of course she never did any of that, and it had nothing to do with the students inside the classroom, a few of whom where edging towards the door to eavesdrop on her little situation.
"Carrie and I are happy," he said. "You shouldn't be envious of that."
She imagined hanging him upside down on a wire, and then slowly peeling his skin off. At first the thought was sudden, and it repulsed her, but then the look of pain she imagined that ugly face would cringe into made it all worth it.
"Envious?" She asked. "Pete, you slept with some woman behind my back, now you're dumping me for her, and yet you have the nerve to call me envious?" But even as she asked this her tone wasn't at all threatening or hard. It was the same tiny and helpless one it always was.
"That's not fair," he said. "It's not my fault you're so…boring! Yeah, I said it; you're boring, Sara! And not just in bed either—no. It's your whole being; it's like this black…abyss waiting to suck the fun out of anything interesting that dares come near you!"
Sara was speechless. She'd never quite had it put that way to her before. Eccentric was the more common term, well at least that's what her parents called her. Even still, those who called her eccentric would accept she was that way because of her art. Nobody ever really came out and called her boring before. It sort of stung.
Pete, once he realized what he had done, softened his expression and stared at her in that same way he used to when she had a bad day with the kids, or when none of her paintings sold at the gallery.
"Look, Sara," he said. "I'm sure there's someone out there for you. It's just not me." He raised his hand and touched her chin with his thumb. "You just need to lighten up, and maybe make a friend or two."
She deliberately avoided his gaze. She suspected that if she looked into his eyes, she might fall for him again—and what a stupid time to do that now was. The last thing she would want after he left was feeling sick over him.
"Maybe we can stay friends then," she suggested.
His hand instantly dropped from her chin. "No," he said. "Don't call me, Sara." And with that he turned and left, slouching down the hallway and never looking back.
She turned to the classroom door and heard a clatter of chairs and desks as her teenage students got back into their seats. She sighed and went back inside, clearing her throat shrilly as she did so.
"Now, where were we?"
- - -
"Gold-digger," he slurred. "That's all she was, Kurt."
Kurt chuckled and took a sip of his beer as his friend continued.
"She ain't messing with the broke niggers!" He yelled so loud that half of everyone in the entire bar turned his way. "It's okay, I can say it! Can't you see I'm black?"
This seemed to calm most of them, as though they hadn't seen that he was black all along, and as if that somehow did make it okay. Kurt continued grinning; he was having a good time. Not so much that he was enjoying his friend's misery, but whenever Sean got drunk it was a funny spectacle.
"I'm tired…" said Sean, gulping down the last of his scotch. "Of them…you know? You know how it…how it feels to just get…sick up to here." He tried to raise his hand to above his head, but gave up at his chin. "of them?"
Kurt nodded, trying not to laugh. Tomorrow Sean was going to have to beg him to drop this.
"Well that's how I feel!" Sean said, slapping his hand on the counter. "They're always after the…after the money Kurt."
"Hmm," said Kurt.
"And if it's not that…they want me to get them signed. Or some shit!"
"I know," said Kurt, hugging his shoulder with one arm.
Sean shrugged it off. "Get off me! You don't know anything!" He slurred grumpily. "You..you're only gonna give me hell over this…tomorrow."
"True," Kurt said, and then turned to the bartender. "Another scotch for the good man, Mart."