Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
Short story by Iris Carden
Why was she in this relationship anyway?
She knew, of course, why. That first night she met him at her workmate’s party, he had cornered her, not allowed her to speak to anyone else, and had talked at her constantly. She’s been too polite to just tell him to bugger off and leave her alone.
She had been new to the area then, and just out of a long-term relationship. As time went on, she didn’t seem to connect with anyone. She was short on friends, and had no-one who really cared about her. She had started to wonder if there was something wrong with her.
She was feeling insecure and vulnerable when she’d encountered him at another function six months after that first meeting, she’d given in and accepted his invitation to a date.
Over time, having committed to the relationship, she’d tried to make it work. He would say he loved her. He would constantly do things that disregarded her feelings and hurt her. He always promised that he would change. He would continue to disregard her feelings and hurt her.
She sat at the coffee shop table, while he was at the counter ordering coffee, reflecting on all of this.
He sat down opposite her. “I ordered you a skinnycino,” he said.
“But I drink my coffee black,” she said. “I always have.”
“I ordered you a skinnycino,” he said again. This time he added, “It’s your favourite.”
“I’m lactose intolerant. I’ve told you that heaps of times. I can’t drink a coffee made out of milk.”
“It’s your favourite! Fine. I’ll just drink both coffees. I bought you a coffee, you should just be grateful.”
She went to the counter and ordered her own coffee, reflecting both that she should have done that in the first place, and that lately she’d gained a lot of “favourites” that she didn’t actually like.