No Two Ways About It

by Chandra Sundeep
57 views
“We should break up.”

“Huh?” I forced myself to glance away from the screen.

She sighed, “we should break up. I’m tired.”

I could smell her loud, indecent breathing, even from afar. I was struggling with a nagging character’s arc and her histrionics were distracting. “Okay,” I resumed typing, acutely aware of her shadow lurking over me.

“That’s it?” She dragged her chair next to mine and huffed, “I’ve been patient for so long! But now, I am fed up of being ignored.”

“You mean fed up with being—”

“Gosh! Stop being a grammar Nazi for once!” She crossed her arms defensively.

“What’s wrong?”

“What’s WRONG?! I mean, like, seriously, WHAT’S WRONG?”

Her noodle hair sizzled as she smacked the back of her right hand into her open left palm. “I mean, like, how-can-you-be-so-clueless?!”

I nodded absentmindedly while making a note of her body language.

“Hello?” she snapped her fingers twice.

“Sorry, I got distracted. You were saying-”

“I know what I was saying. I am fed up of—,” she rolled her eyes, “—with being ill-treated. You forgot our anniversary…”

Confusion clouded my brain. “What anniversary?”

“Ugh, our 14th week-a-versary.”

“What do you mean? That’s not even a thing!”

She flipped back her hair, “Fyi… It totally is. And anyway, that’s beside the point.”

“The point being?”

“You went to some stupid literary festival instead.”

“Oh… that! I met so many amazing authors. It was mind-blowing! You should have come, too.”

“Eeks…” She shuddered as if slimy creatures were crawling over her. “Who wants to meet more bookworms?!”

“We are fun people, you know.”

“Really? And this is your grand idea of fun!” She stomped her feet hard, glaring at the walls covered with bookshelves.

“C’mon. You’re being unfair now. Just last month, we went to your favourite coffee place and had so much fun.”

“Bloody hell! You were just glued to your phone. We didn’t even click a selfie,” she pouted.

“I wasn’t playing.” I shrugged and offered a meek response.

Her hair was now going rogue. “Of course you weren’t! You were researching and adding stuff to your cheat sheet, right? So, what was it this time—sounds or smells?”

I was about to reply when she interrupted, “wait, lemme guess—gestures?”

“Yes, that too. But mainly the fashion and urban slang.” I smiled inwardly, visualizing my characters behaving like zoomers.

“Enough of your nonsense!” She held up her palm as if she were a traffic cop and I, an errant driver. “You gotta choose now.”

“What do you mean?”

“For a writer, you are quite stupid. No wonder you haven’t bagged a single publishing contract despite typing like a madman all the time.”

Her broody eyes turned accusing and aggressive. “It’s either me or your useless writing. You can’t have both! So, what’s it gonna be, Mister?”

Eureka! I knew what to do with the nagging character!

My laptop screen glowed blue with life, and I answered without looking away, “we should break up.”

 

This story was first published on Penmancy and was awarded the First Runner-up prize.
close

By subscribing, you agree to our website terms and conditions.

You may also like

Leave a Comment