Wednesday, June 27, 2018

As If Nothing Ever Happened. by Jesse Lynn Rucilez



    December 26th, 2017.
    Stark City, Oregon.
    1:11 p.m.
    “I don’t care who you are to anyone else,” he said, fists clenched at his side. Restraining himself. “You’re nothing to me anymore.”
    She looked hurt. Once, she’d been the world to him; everything. His eyes sparkled when he looked at her. Now, his eyes looked hollow; reflecting something she couldn’t understand. “But…it’s been three years.”
    “I don’t care if it’s been ten. Or a hundred. Or a thousand.”
    They stood on the vaunted Stark City archway. Above them, the dismal sky threatened rain. Below them, Stark Boulevard pulsed like an artery through the heart of downtown. This chance meeting had ruined an otherwise mellow day. He’d seen her on the archway and averted his eyes, determined to pass without a word. But she’d called out to him in a jovial tone. Called his name and walked over to him.
    Grinning. As if nothing ever happened.
    He exhaled. Not a sigh, but a sharp, sudden eruption. Almost a warning. Just the sight of her brought everything back. All the angst. All the anguish. All the anger.
    “Look,” she said, offering a conciliatory smile, “I’m sorry about how things ended between us.”
    He glared at her. The her from his dark, sordid past. The her which almost every man has once known and left behind. The her he associates with pain.
    “Five years,” he breathed, beginning to tremble. “Before you, I went five years without anyone in my life.”
She drew back, frowning. Confused. Offended. “I said I’m sorry.
    He winced as sharp memories tore through him. Afterwards. All those months. Hour after hour, day after day, week after week. A brutal cycle of rage and depression. Some days, unable to drag himself from bed. Some days, furious at everyone and everything. An aching, empty, loneliness in the center of his shattered being.
    All because of her.
    Again, she tried to smile. “It wouldn’t have worked between us. You know that.”
    “I don’t care.”
    “Well…I just wanted to say that it’s good to see you, and that I’m happy.”
    “I don’t care.”
    “Look, I was honest with you from the start.” She raised her left hand. “See? I’m married now.”
    “I don’t care.”
    “I have a daughter now, too. She’s beautiful.”
    “I don’t care.”
    She paused, imploring him with her gaze. “Can’t we…can’t we still be friends?”
    Incredulous, he shook his head.
    “Please?” Now her eyes shone with desperation; a child’s need for approval.
    Silent, expressionless, he bit down on his pride, on his roiling fury, and turned away. Not quite what she deserved, but good enough.
    “Why are you so angry?” she asked; hollow and frustrated.
    Unclenching his fists, he began to walk away…and didn’t look back.
    As if nothing ever happened.
—January 17th, 2017







Jesse Lynn Rucilez was born in Reno, Nevada. Growing up, Jesse was an avid reader of Sherlock Holmes stories and Marvel Comics. Throughout his life, Jesse has mainly worked in the security industry, both in Seattle, Washington and Reno, Nevada, and taught self-defense for several years before deciding to focus on writing. Inspired by authors such as Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, and Kurt Vonnegut, he prefers to write literary horror and science fiction, exploring what he calls “the dark side of the American Dream.”  More information about Jesse's fiction can be found @ http://www.jlrucilez.wordpress.com

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