Author’s Note: So, long time no original fiction from me, huh? Well, here’s a new short story from me today! sakiyama will probably take longer again, wheeeeeeeee…orz
So yeah, things have been tough with my time management problems, although I’ve seen improvements in me, which means that I’ll keep on learning and doing my best! Now, as for this story, it’s something that was mainly inspired by a recent dark point in my life, one that I will not explain further here for the sake of a friend. As for other writing process stuff that I can talk about, the wordings in this story were very different in the first draft, and Pri was a freaking great help in making the thoughts and the dialogue meet the level of realism that I was aiming for! Also, Pri made the cover illustration for this story. Thank you very much for your help again, Pri!
And hey, if you wanna know more about Pri, here’s a link to her stuff.
Now, on to the story. Oh, and two more things before you start reading the story:
- This short story has a significant amount of cursing/swearing/foul language.
- Honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated! \(^o^)
I was going to buy some hot chocolate from the cafe when I noticed them.
“I screwed up!” a mousy man squeaked. “I’m sorry, alright?”
“You should be!” shouted his angry female companion. “I said I wasn’t fucking interested in that contest. Can’t you fucking learn?”
It was a quiet, cool fall evening, and I had been walking down a street on my way to the cafe. As I was passing by an apartment complex, my attention was drawn to a couple arguing on the street. They were standing in front of the building, and it wasn’t hard to read the atmosphere around them.
I knew it shouldn’t be any of my business, but it was difficult to escape the couple and the tension that hung in the air around them. I silently made a decision to watch and took a seat on the sidewalk, but made sure to look at anything but at the duo. I took a deep breath as I glanced at them out of the side of my eye, before focusing on the street in front of me. I could hear what they were saying just fine.
“I’m not going to give an excuse,” mousy man continued, putting his hands up weakly. “I forced you into it, I know I shouldn’t have.”
“Of course no one wants to be forced, you dumb shit!”
My lips grew into a line. I’ve had my own experiences with rude women, whether they be relatives, girlfriends, or even total strangers. I snuck another glance at the smaller man. He stood in silence as the woman continued scolding him. I couldn’t help but question his role in this relationship.
“Why do you keep assuming things, you dumbass?” The woman hissed, having lowered her voice, likely not to draw a crowd. “I said I didn’t want it, but you just go and do it anyways! You don’t care about what I say, no, you just go and do whatever the fuck you want, don’t you? You sign me up, of course you would! Why wouldn’t you, right!?”
I bit my lip. There’s a million ways this conflict could have been avoided. She could have told him back in the diner, but she likely held back. I took a deep breath, questioning whether or not it would be right to step in.
“I thought you had wanted to sing professionally,” the mousy man muttered.
I raised an eyebrow. The more I heard, the more I wondered what this man had done that was so heinous. There was the additional guilt over thinking that the woman could sing without a microphone, since she could yell so loudly.
“And you always liked to sing,” mousy man added. “I don’t know why you’d reject an offer like that. Your teachers thought you’d do well, and I did, too…”
I finally turned back to look at the couple. They didn’t bother to look up at me. I heard a near-inaudible whimper, and I saw the mousy man staring at the ground, his shoulders trembling.
I could feel my blood boiling. I’d probably never truly meet either of these people again after this evening, but I knew I couldn’t stand this woman.
“Don’t talk about this to me again,” she growled. “And don’t rope me into this singing and music bullshit.”
After tacking on a deadpan “goodnight”, she turned on her heel and walked towards the building. She stomped up to one of the apartments that was left open on the ground floor. Unlocked, she slipped into the building. My heart jumped at the sound of the door slamming.
And with that, the air settled again, but still held a certain energy. It was like trying to catch one’s breath after a long run. But while I was still reeling, I saw that the man had a very different reaction.
The man was looking down at the ground in defeat. After a while of standing in silence, he walked towards a concrete post near where I sat. He put his back on it, and he slid down to a sitting position, letting out a long and drawn-out sigh. Then, he looked up at the night sky, past the shining streetlight hanging above him.
I had tried to follow his line of sight, but I was interrupted by him talking to me.
He looked over to me, saying, “You heard that, huh?” He sounded unsurprised, maybe even resigned.
My first thought was, “How many times has that bitch been like that?” I started to open my mouth to ask the question, but then stopped. I was caught off guard by the smile he was wearing. I couldn’t understand why he’d smile at all. His expression then softened. To anyone, it could be a kind gesture, but it felt like he was mocking me with it.
“Were you about to say something?” he asked. His smile shifted again.
I take a deep breath, muttering, “Something about that bitch.”
He sighed, and he shook his head. “I’ve dealt with worse before,” he said. “A lot,” he followed up with an upward lift of his lips.
I scowled in response. I wanted to say something, anything, just to set him right. I had no idea what I could have said, but I knew I wanted to smack that smile right off his face. I almost couldn’t understand what I was thinking, myself, with wanting to hurt a man who I just witnessed being verbally abused.
He still smiled. “I don’t think you really get it, do you?” It was an obvious rhetorical question.
We sat in confusion. I felt some kind of emotion well up, and I couldn’t tell if I wanted to comfort the man or punch him in the arm. His smile was like some demented mask. It felt like he was teasing me, like everything he went through was an improv act to make bystanders confused.
I sharply inhaled. He’s just crazy. That’s it.
He still had his eyes on me, but I stood up from the sidewalk and pointed myself in the direction of the cafe. Before I stormed off, I shot him a glare. Like his smile, I wasn’t sure if I was telling him to man up or to go die, but I knew I had relayed some kind of message.
As I walked away, I pulled my jacket’s collar closer to me, hissing under my breath. It didn’t matter, I wouldn’t see either of those bastards again.
I saw them drinking at the cafe the next morning.
I stared at them with my jaw hanging open. I was standing outside the window, but I could recognize the couple sitting in the booth.
The two of them were indistinguishable from any happy couple as they laughed about the stories they told each other. Sweet nothings became sweet somethings over coffee and cake, the fight from last night long forgotten.
I continued staring in at their booth, and I could feel a look of disgust on my face. Any passerby would wonder why I find I them so revolting. I wondered if anyone else even knew about the couple’s fight, or even suspected anything less than the best out of their relationship.
My hands tightened into fists before I decide against entering the cafe. Instead, I stormed away from the window. It could be time to come to terms with the fact that I simply can’t understand people, much less those two.