at Straws

Natalie has been thinking about this night for a while. Pouring over it trying to find a way to get through. See, Natalie is infatuated with her current partner, Sam. Not only is she infatuated, she’s got it bad, and has for a while. Sam has been distant lately and Natalie has been traveling a lot for work. Natalie has been battling her OCD as well, with it having recently made an unannounced return to the forefront of her mind. She is struggling and Sam knows. Sam loves Natalie but feels like it's nearing the end. Sam is also nervous about tonight. Sam has been having doubts about her relationship with Natalie. They haven't been talking much on account of both of them so the communication disparity leaves even more to fill in with doubt. Sowing thought after vicious thought. Natalie knocks on Sam’s door at 11:32 pm. Sam opens the door and kisses Natalie on the forehead. Natalie is blanketed in comfort from this gesture alone. Sam notices Natalie's elation. It makes her sad. She doesn't say anything. She knows she won’t leave happy. They sit on the couch for a while and watch a movie, one of Natalie’s favorite things to do. Natalie doesn't want to spoil it with dialogue like she usually would, especially when she’s stoned. She admits, she still gets nervous around Sam; she tells herself that smoking helps a little. Sam gets closer to Natalie on the couch and lays her head on Natalie’s shoulder. For a moment Natalie doubts herself and thinks about the tension neither of them is willing to acknowledge. They kiss a few times, long, movie-style kisses. They both revel in these moments. They barely speak. Neither of them is paying attention to the movie. They both know that their relationship is dwindling, Sam is falling out of love with Natalie and is spending too much time thinking about how to fix it. Natalie knows but will not confront it. She can physically feel it now though, as clearly as she can feel Sam’s body against hers. The movie ends. They kiss more. This time it is a sad kiss. A kiss out of a novel; they hold each other wondering if this will be their last embrace. Sam turns the light out. Natalie undresses; Sam follows cautiously, not wanting to instigate sex. Natalie wants Sam but is uncomfortable making that clear. Natalie kisses Sam one more time and they spoon and eventually fall asleep. In the morning Sam is already awake when Natalie gets up around 10. She hasn't made coffee yet but is smoking a cigarette in bed. Natalie has never seen Sam do this. Sam has never smoked in bed. Natalie asks for coffee. Sam turns to look at her with heavy eyes; she’s not making coffee. She breaks. She cries and explains her feelings. It’s over. They cry together and share a short hug. They are both grateful for their time with each other but devastated by this loss they never truly accepted would come. Natalie Leaves. No music in the car on the way home. The next day Natalie leaves flowers in Sam’s mailbox. Happy to have met Sam but gutted by the immediate sensation of longing and loss. They will be alright but they taught each other a lot. And it'll be a while till Natalie can love again. Sam is a social person but still struggles to distract herself some days. Natalie had been good to her. They had coffee a few months later. Taking quiet solace in the gratefulness for the time they shared. “It doesn't have to be forever,” Sam said, Natalie nodded in agreement.


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Spencer Healy

I go to university, I’m a struggling optimist. some of these are proper narrative pieces and some are more poetry, others lean towards stream of consciousness.