I tipped the red coffee mug up towards me and looked in. The last remnants of breakfast lay sprinkled across the table. If I had been a fortune teller, I could have read the crumbs like tea leaves. I drank the last mouthful of coffee and set the mug to the side and leaned forward. I took his hand, holding it tightly. The coffee was ice cold. We had been sitting in silence for what felt like hours. Long enough to spoil a perfectly good cup of fair trade organic coffee. Not that I truly cared. I drank whatever was put in front of me. Poison even, at that very moment.
Neither of us spoke.
The silence was broken only by the rain falling against the window and the clock ticking on the desk. I glared at the clock. I didn’t know why I bought it. It was an oversized version of an old fashion alarm clock. Everything worked. The silver metal bells at the top especially worked well. Flowers in muted tones were splashed across the clock face; crimson, gold, indigo blue. I was sure at the time I first saw it, I thought it was cute and interesting. Now, sitting with Daniel while we both on the verge drowning, the tick tocking seemed a cruel mockery of what we were living through. Or it reminded me how difficult it was to breathe from one second to the next. Either way, I hated the clock and the time it kept.
The clock’s hands strained to reach noon. My stomach protested. We had been sitting for a solid hour, not looking at each other, but touching still. When Daniel spoke, his words fell like stones onto the table, rolling and clunking through my heart. He held my hand still, gripping it tightly as though letting go would mean falling off the table into nothing. I held on too.
“I should go.” He said.
“Ok.” I said. My mouth made the shape to speak but the words were caught like sawdust in my throat. I held onto his hand still.
“I will call you later.” He said. Daniel slipped his hand from under mine and laid it on top. I could feel the heat from his palm penetrate through my skin. Then he was gone.
There was a black scar on the table top. It ran from the center of the table, across to the far side. The wood had been reclaimed from an old farm and converted to fit the legs. I ran my finger nail through to the one end, regretting it as I pulled my hand away. Bits of dirt and dust that had previously been trapped there fell away. I made a face but didn’t look up. I listened for the front door to close and waited until his footsteps had faded on the worn grey steps to the yard before standing again. I took the empty mug to the kitchen and set it in the stainless steel sink. The rain fell harder, blurring the glass in a steady streaming curtain, leaving me paralyzed and unforgiven.