Cassie is nervous. She feels slightly nauseous and she walks to her kitchen to find something to eat. A cracker catches her eye, and she picks it up, but instead of putting it in her mouth, she crumbles it to pieces. She is waiting for Max to come over, and she hopes he will not hate her forever when she tells him about Joe. All artists need to suffer to produce great art, she thinks, I’m really doing him a favor. However, these thoughts do not alleviate the spasms in her stomach, and she crumbles another cracker with her hand.
The door bell rings. Cassie runs to the door, almost knocking over a vase that stands on her table. A vase that Joe had gotten her years ago. She opens the door for Max, and when she sees his huge smile and the sparkle in his eyes, she almost throws up on his feet.
“Hi beautiful,” he says, and his lips move toward her. She lets them linger on her lips before she takes him by the hand and leads him to her couch.
“I haven’t been honest with you,” she tells him as she lets go of his hand. “ When I said I needed a break, it wasn’t because I needed time to think. Okay it was…but I wasn’t thinking about what you think I was thinking about. What I’m trying to say is, well, the thing is. Okay this is hard.”
She gives in to her nerves and begins to laugh; in a few minutes she will need to go to the bathroom, she realizes, because she can feel last nights dinner rising up from her stomach. “The thing is,” she says, but she does not know how to continue. Why did she have to do the honorable thing and break up with Max face to face instead of the way she wanted, with a letter written on colorful perfumed stationery. Max takes her hand, gives it light squeeze and a kiss, and says “It’s okay. Whatever you have to say I’ll understand.”
“I want to get back together with my Ex,” She blurts out. “I’m sorry, I think you’re great. I really wanted this to work. I think you’re so nice and sweet and fun and good looking and you deserve someone who appreciates all this. I mean I appreciate this, but the thing is, I love my Ex. That love never went away, and now I have been given a second chance at it. I mean we haven’t been together that long, and it’s not like we were planning on getting married or even living together. We could have worked, but think I would be happier being with my ex. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I lied to you, and I hope you find someone great, and I really wish I didn’t have these feelings.”
Cassie takes a deep breath. Max is still holding her hand but he stares at her silently. He has the prettiest blue eyes, she thinks, and she wonders why she never noticed that his eyes look like the ocean in the middle of a hot summer day. “Do you hate me,” she asks him, and when he does not answer she pleads, “Say something, please.”
He gives her hand another kiss. “ I was just thinking about my next painting,” he replies. “It’s going to be two female rabbits dressed in the most exquisite ball gowns, but they are going to be eating sloppy Joes. I haven’t decided if I the ball gowns represent me or this other guy.
“You’re definitely the exquisite part of this painting,” Cassie replies with a sad smile on her lips, and she wonders the same she thing she wondered when she got drunk the night before her SAT exam: Why does she make decisions she knows she will regret later.