Break-ups in the 22nd Century

Sometimes, break-ups are bloody

Marnie sat in front of her computer, staring at a screen full of photos. “Delete,” She whispered and the screen went blank. She threw the pad on the couch beside her and pulled her knees up to her chest. Hugging her legs as she admitted to herself that memories and promises are not a life, they are a self inflicted curse on the dreamer that wants to live in them. And she’s a one of those damned dreamers.

“Not anymore.” She said this aloud because she needed to hear some sort of resolve. It came out more like a squeak and she could not hold back the dam of tears.

The sobs started in her chest, a heaving one breaks the chain of silence in the small apartment. She’s alone, again. She’s a new husk of a chrysalis to the butterfly she had transformed into for him. She changed for him and he just didn’t want her anymore. Again.

Marnie felt hollow. Not for the first time. But the coldness of her feet, the broken feeling in her chest, the numbness of her lips. These feelings told her it was the last time this could ever happen.

When did he kiss her for the last time?

He kissed her, but it wasn’t really a kiss. No the last time he kissed her like he was hers only, was December 20th, 2020. And it’s January 15th, 2021. It was the taste of his tongue in her mouth that told her devotion. After that, her mouth was always empty as the kisses became less urgent and less gratifying.

Why did he wait so long to tell her that the friend they bumped into New Year’s Eve was his mistress? When did the mistress become the devotee? Was it only in the last three weeks? Or had this affair been going on for some time?

“Stop it. Just stop.” Marnie whispered again. She didn’t want to think about this anymore.

She picked up the pad from the couch again. One tap woke it. Post on FB, “Single.”

“Would you like to severe all ties both technological and physical with Brendan?” The pads voice was smooth with it’s words.

“Yes.” Marnie clipped the syllable with her tongue.

“Very well. This action has been completed. Have a nice day.” The sincerity of the voice in the pad made Marnie destitute.

The pad was efficient in erasing all connections with Brendan. All of their mutual friends were suspended access from her page until they picked a side.

Three pings later she had three friends back. And then silence. She stared at the screen until her eyes blurred out the images and the silence swallowed her whole. Marnie threw the pad and it crashed through the window she kept closed. The smog was thick and sickening. And now it was seeping into her home just like Brendan did five years ago.

She rushed over to the open barrier and pressed the ’emergency seal’ button. Brendan had gotten that installed in her apartment two years ago. She hated that this button that he put in her home, was going to save her from choking to death on that poison air.

The gelatin layer spread over the opening. The smog contained away from her lungs. A chill came across her skin, “That was close.”

She turned to the voice at her door. “Why are you here?”

His smile seemed hurt by the tone in her voice. She writes it off as projecting her emotions on him.

“I was worried when you unfriended everyone.” A convenient excuse because it just happened. He had already been on his way here when she did it.

“You don’t have to worry about a damn thing I do anymore. I think you haven’t worried about me for a long time.” Marnie pauses, because she doesn’t want to ask but can’t help asking, “Why start now?”

“Mar. Come on. It’s just natural to see someone else after such a long time with one person.”

“Well I’m reacting unnaturally then.” She turned away. Not wanting to look at his face or body. She wiped away the tears to keep her own dignity.

“Marnie. Marnie.” He whispered her name like he used to when they were in a fight and he had no words but her name on his lips. She felt him move toward her because her awareness of him was still too keen. She couldn’t help wanting him to hold her again. And as he wrapped his arms around her waist she turned to him.

He kissed her that same stale way he did after December. She felt her hands move to his neck, a habit. His arms wrapped tighter around her body. And the kiss changed to that deeper devoted kind he used to give. She wanted this. He wanted this.

Marnie pulled him to the wall. She smiled in the seductive way he liked so much when they were together. He leaned in close, his hands on the wall instead of her hips. She sees him slip out of the spell of a last fling. “I should go.”

His eyes don’t meet hers. His lips don’t touch hers. His hands don’t hold her. His entire body turned away from her is an anvil of weight on her libido. “Did you mean to do that?” Marnie’s voice broke at the shock and pain he just inflicted with that one kiss.

“No I don’t think I did.” The words hurt more. She stayed at the wall, propped up by it’s smooth, unjudging, support.

“So you just kissed me like she never was, and now you are going back to her.” She couldn’t understand it if she tried. She blinked away the tears quickly. Staring at him as he turned back to look at her.

“I didn’t mean to.” His hands fist at his sides. Marnie noticed the fingers flexed slightly. Like the twitch of a heart beat. A habit.

“What do you say to a drink then?” She pushed herself off the wall and towards the drink tray. Something he left behind. His eyebrows raised a little at the suggestion.

“You’ve been sober for three years Marnie. That’s water for decoration.” He moved closer to the tray as she approached it.

“Not anymore. Switched it to gin this morning. I’ve been waiting for the right time to fall off the damn wagon and this seems like rock bottom.” Her hands shook as she poured the drinks into the crystal glasses. The clinks made a chorus of anticipation and nerves musical.

She handed him a glass and he took it with a stone face. She was sure she looked crazed in the moment she was placed the glass to her lips. And the smell of the gin, invited her to sip. But his hand came up and placed it over the cup. His fingers curled around the crystal and ripped it from her hands. The crash of both cups onto the floor was barely noticed as they looked into each other’s eyes.

“Marnie, Marnie, Marnie.” She shook her head at the sound of her name on his lips again. She turned away from his face and looked down. It was surreal to see the blood trail of her foot prints all over the floor. They were a map of her movements. The window, the carpet, the wall were imprinted with the perfect outline of bloody foot prints. She didn’t want to see it, but the day couldn’t get any worse, and the blood loss would be inconvenient. She looked at her foot and stared.

The door opened slightly, and Marnie knew it was the mistress. No. His girlfriend walking in on them. Marnie grabbed onto Brendan’s arm as she began to feel the pain her cold feet had been numb to. The look on his face was carved with concern at the change in Marnie. His arm was under her in moments. He looked down to where her eyes had just been. His face widened in fear. Mouth and eyes open in shock. But it was her voice that said the obvious question to ask.

“Why is her foot covered in broken glass?”

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