we all wear the same face in different ways

The laughter was loud, bursting from her throat unbidden. wild and feral. bouncing off the walls of the small, bright room; looking for an escape and finding it through the window by the closed terrace doors.

the neighbors would later comment that it couldn’t have been her. She was usually so quiet and never went off like that.

The dark brown eyes that stared back at her, grew cold at the sound, and she quickly clasped her hand to her mouth, but the damage was done. His cheeks twitched a bit and she saw how he was trying to hold in his anger. was she mocking him?  His thoughts clear as day on his face.

the laughter seemed to linger in the room, somehow. like it was a sentient being, sensing the atmosphere in the room; and with its malicious heart, sought to worsen it.

“I see. I understand”. Even now he was pulling away from her, reaching for his jacket. It had fallen from the arm of the chair in his earlier excitement that had faded considerably to this dark, heavy weight on his chest.

She shook her head, but it was slow, sluggish. All the words she wouldn’t say seemed to fill her eyes, “No-“, her voice was soft, and in the wake of before, was enough to make him pause “that’s not- I’m sorry.” She had stopped shaking her head now, her gaze set on the century furniture table-piece in the  corner of the room.

She had bought it in a fit, but it did the room justice. Her friends had praised the choice, with words and references she hadn’t understood. but she had nodded, and laughed and agreed, grateful for the attention. that night she had written ‘I AM INTERESTING”, in bold letters on her bathroom mirror, the red lipstick glaring. It was rubbed off four minutes later. The lipstick was thrown away.

All this while he had been silent, staring at her. She refused to look back, her eyes always showed too much. “I’m sorry”, her voice was low, “I shouldn’t have laughed. It’s just..”

“What? What is it??”, his voice grated out and though she knew he wasn’t shouting, it was so loud in her head. “What’s the problem? why won’t you talk to me, with me?”

His hand reached, touched her shoulder, and she flinched. Her body’s impulse to move away overriding everything else. He’s already moving away, on his feet and walking towards the door, and she can’t get up.

Call him back, foolish girl, one of the voices said, but she knew. This was it.

    Isn’t it best i let him go? i keep hurting him and i can’t seem to change. this is best. this is best. this is best.

He paused at the door, hand grasping the knob, but he didn’t turn it. She wished he would so she could see him one  last time. trace with her eyes the lines on his forehead, the ears he hated, but she adored, the Afro she had talked him into keeping…everything that was him.

The door handle turns, and just like that, he’s gone.

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