“You’ve got a brick for a heart, don’t you know that?” He was crying harder now and the words were breaking as he spoke.
I was straight faced, standing above him and staring forward. He was sitting on the curb up hugging his legs to his chest. He looked pathetic. He was a muscly man, lifted weights and spent evenings at the gym. To me, he used to be a bear, now I saw him for what he was- a big soppy bastard.
“You need to see someone and sort your shit out, you know that?” he said. I was sick of his tears, sick of him telling me who I was and what I had. How would he know, how would anyone?
I spat at him. A big foamy lump of spit landed on his already damp cheek. “You dare, you dare tell me who I am one more time and I swear…” He wiped his cheek on his sleeve.
“That was low,” he said. “Even for you.” He stayed on the curb, I expected more of a reaction to the gob on his face. I wanted a fight.
“If you don’t get up from there, I’ll get in the car and I promise I’ll run you over,” I said with my teeth gritted. He was leaning up against my car. The only way out of the space was to reverse.
“Do it, then seeing you like this won’t hurt.”
“Don’t be so fuckin’ melodramatic,” I said and kicked his foot. “I’ll make sure it hurts. I’ll run you so far into the ground that you become part of this puddle.” I skimmed by boot across the muddy water. It splashed him.
I could feel a burning in my stomach and all the muscles in my back that I had left were tightening. Anger was boiling inside me. I wanted to scream myself out of my skin. I slapped him round the ears and shouted, “Let me go and be happy.” Over and over. He curled up into a ball to protect his head and neck. When I stopped hitting him I was crying. Tears of lava were burning on my toddler tantrum face.
“I’ll let you go, soon as you get help.” He said.
“I don’t need no help. I don’t need it from them and I don’t need it from you. I fumbled around in my bag looking for the keys. The bag was deep and I could hear them chinking but couldn’t see them through my blurred tears. I tipped everything out onto the rainy road. Purse, pens, notepad, receipts, cards. My car keys landed in a puddle, next to the curb he was sitting on. He grabbed my wrist and stared me in the eyes.
“You’re not going anywhere in this state. You’re worse than drunk.”
“I’d be happier dead than sitting here with you.” He pulled me close so we were head to head.
“I’ll help you,” he said through a snot bubble. “I’ll help you sort it all out.”
“I’m sorting it out, I’m getting rid of you. You’re the problem here, not me. Let go.”
I tried to pull myself away but he dragged me closer so we were nose to nose. I could smell kebab on his breath.
“You’re a fuckin’ bastard.” My voice was deeper and coarse from screaming at him to let me go.
I just wanted to be free. I just wanted to be happy.