“I know you don’t love me,” Marla said, in her weak and broken voice, “but will you ever love me?”
Alan looked into his soup. It wasn’t anything special, as Marla was nothing special. He was thinking more about the flavour of the soup than Marla, so muttered; “No…” softly, then raised his eyes, “I don’t think so…”
Marla stared into his face. He saw her lips quiver, her head begin to bob, and the tears loading up in her eyes.
If he lied, tossed one of those ambiguities, then she would smile. But it had gone on far too long. Marla was no more than a ‘place holder’. A woman to fit into the ‘girlfriend’ box until someone else came along.
Maybe Alan assumed she knew that.
With tears pouring down her face, Marla moved away from him and began to pack her things.
Alan wanted to mutter, ‘you can stay…’ but realised her answer would be no and he’d have to get up and persuade her, and just didn’t feel in the mood.
He ate the soup, Marla packed.
He was washing his plate when he heard her leave. She shouldn’t have asked the question if she’d wanted to stay.