a • lone • ly

a response to the daily post’s writing prompt

Everything would be so different if she had just said no. If she had just pulled up her big-girl pants and told him, firmly and unsympathetically: “no.” But she couldn’t. His chocolate brown eyes didn’t give her a fighting chance, pleading with her, eliciting pity, guilt, and affection from her. His big brown eyes, so innocently persuasive, were nothing like his heart; so manipulatively cold. She should have just said no.

She watched the passing people with apprehension, her fingers tugging deftly at the hem of her dress, pulling, pushing, itching to escape. Her eyes wandered among the crowd, their deep ebony resonating lost betrayal. She knew this was a mistake from the moment her lips had formed around the word “yes”, utterly out of her control, detached from her brain and strung along by her pathetic heart. But she waited, knowing her word was the only valuable thing she had these days, and that leaving would mean losing it.

She waited by the ice cream parlor, its pastel colors enveloping her. She waited by the children huddled around the table, their faces coated in layers of chocolate mess. She waited by the inviting music from inside the buildings that mocked her as she stood alone, outside. She waited, and waited, until she knew it was time to leave.

The city had turned off now, the twinkling lights turned to a half-hearted flickering; the stumbling strangers varied from returning home intoxicated to paled neophytes walking stiffly and cautious of everything. She clung to the familiarity of the latter, her purse clutched in her hand, her knuckles turning white and red: the broken shards of a candy cane.

She reached her home with a sigh, knowing that tonight went exactly as expected – that she had known that tonight wouldn’t have gone any other way. He was a liar. She was a broken record; a compass’s needle pointing shakily to morality, drowning in the knowledge that everyone would always be taking advantage of her.

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