Puff. Puff. Swig.

She was trembling that night. As she silently padded her way from her bedroom to the balcony of her condo, she was trembling.  Slowly, she got out her cigarette pack from her back pocket and placed down a bottle of half-consumed red wine beside her as she sat down on her patio chair.

She lit a cigarette and puffed. She removed the cork of the red wine bottle and took a swig. She puffed once more. Puffed another. Then took a swig.

Puff.  Puff.  Swig.  

Puff.  Puff.  Swig.  

Puff.  Puff.  Swig.

Then she put the bottle down, threw her cigarette butt on the ground and stepped on it.  She took out another.  She was trembling so hard that she dropped it before lighting it up.  She buried her face in her hands, cigarette in between her fingers and sobs started to rack her shoulders.

He was by her front door, standing there waiting for her to say something.  She would look anywhere but at him.  She told him, he should go.  That it was getting late and that he had a long way to drive before reaching home.  There was nothing left for them to talk about.

He didn’t move from where he stood.  He continued standing there, asking her silently, imploring her. What’s wrong? He asked. Please. Tell me what’s wrong.

But she remained silent.  She didn’t say anything.  Finally, she looked up and stared at him.  Eyes devoid of emotion.  

You should leave. That was all she said.

Are we still – you know – together?  He asked.  Pleadingly.  Softly.  Calmly.  Although he was anything but.  

He tried to reach for her.  But she took a step back, arms going around herself.  A defense mechanism.

She didn’t say anything again.  She continued to look beyond him.  Then slowly she turned away from him.  She started to close her door.

Please.  Just…  Just leave.  She told him.

I still love you, you know.  I will still wait for you.  No matter what.  He tried to persuade her to face him. To listen to him.  

But she would no longer budge.

He turned away.  Head down, defeated.  He slowly walked towards the elevators.  He pushed the down button and gave her one last look. 

She wasn’t looking. 

He sighed and stepped inside. 

She closed her door and went to her bedroom. She was trembling.

Her sobs racked her body.  Her cries consumed her.  She was trembling that night.  She was trembling.

Written originally on March 11, 2006
Edited and re-printed on March 28, 2016

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