Thu, January 12 8:48 PM

”Hello.” Looking up I was met with the dark ember eyes of Claire. I smiled, standing up and embracing her in a hug. Before we could part we kissed lightly, me smiling in it, though she didn’t. Her body was stiff and cold from the light rain dripping outside. She had decided that we would meet at the coffee shop we first met at only 6 months ago today.

We walked over to the counter together, looking up at the menu even though I already knew what I wanted. “Can I have a dirty chai, soy milk, please?”

“I’ll have a tall Americano and a slice of strawberry cake.” Claire slid her debit card over the counter then looked down at me. She smiled tightly with her eyes radiating sadness. Something was off. This wasn’t the Claire knew; she was usually snarky and talkative. She could talk for the both of us, about anything really. Her brain was filled with random information and little facts, she would think of a memory at random and tell me the story behind it, laughing at the inside jokes I wasn’t in tune with yet.

“Are you going to say anything or just look off into space?” I joked. Minutes had passed and we already had gotten our drinks and food but it was like she wasn’t there. Her eyes were focused on something off to her right, nothing and something at the same time.

Looking at me, a smile broke. “Sorry, I’m just thinking.” She then pushed the plate of cake to me and gestured for me to eat. I took a big bite, savoring the feeling of sponge and whipped cream on my tongue.

“You know I care about you right?” Claire asked before taking a sip of her coffee. I nodded, not really thinking about what she was saying. “Because I do, I care about you a lot, Marie...but I can’t see you anymore.” My eyes darted up to see Claire staring at me. Her expression was blank like it wasn’t really here saying this. What?

“Excuse me? I don--I don’t understand. What did I do wrong?”

“I’m sorry, it’s not you it’s me, and I know it probably kills you to hear that and it kills me to say it, but you can’t be with someone like me. I’m sorry Marie.” Claire shook her head, stood up to put on her jacket and downed her coffee. The sweetness of the cake no longer was comforting to me.

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it's bad I know, but as the year goes on I hope I get better, as intended.