The Broken Conversation
“The Broken Conversation” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Rivva Zo Norman, Saint John’s Campus, Australia.
The Broken Conversation
"Jim, I-I'm pregnant." His face was frozen in shock, his head shook side to side as his hands bawled into fists.
"How did this happen, we always use protection!" Jim raised his voice accusingly, looking at Amanda with a fierce stare. Her eyes faulted at the hard stare she was receiving, bowing her head to the floor as she bit her lip.
"I don't know Jim, just please don't freak out. We can do this together," Amanda attempted to calm Jim down, praying he would help her through this. Her hand massaging her forehead with force as she awaited a reply.
"Do this together, Amanda, are you cussing crazy, we can't raise a baby. I can't raise a baby, I need you to leave-"
"No Jim please don't do this, we can work this out," Amanda objected, trying to stop the inevitable, but her efforts were futile.
"I said leave Amanda," and she did, running out of the house, barely escaping the darkness that began to close in around her. Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she ran home, her love's words replaying in her head crushing her heart further. She arrived home quickly and ran into her room, shutting the door with shaking hands, the full impact of the situation hitting her hard as she fell to her knees, sobbing loudly while she covered her face.
Amanda shook off the memory as she stared at the boy she fell in love with 20 years ago, her high school sweetheart, her Jim, the youth he once possessed gone. She stood awkwardly looking back and forth between her ex-lover and a packet of pretzels, she turned, taking off her beanie as she walked towards him.
"Jim," she said, and he turned, a shy smile appearing on his face.
"Amanda," he breathed and walked towards her.
"This is surreal, how have you been?" She asked, hoping to shift the awkwardness of the conversation.
"Yeah, I've been okay, I've been, yeah, okay." Feeling his face become flushed he looked to his feet.
"That's good," she smiled uneasily, suddenly feeling very unsure of herself.
"Ah, would you, would you like to get some coffee with me?" Jim asked.
Amanda knew she should say no, nothing good could come from this reunion, but before she could stop herself she heard the word 'yes' exit her mouth.
Afternoon coffee turned into evening drinks at Jim's childhood home, the earlier shy awkwardness replaced with ease and laughter as they reminisced the years they'd spent together so long ago and filled each other in on the years since. Amanda was thrilled when Jim pulled out the old cassette player and tapes they'd used to record themselves as teenagers. Sitting on Jim's familiar single bed they were both in hysterics as they listened to themselves, the happy memories flooding back. Happy memories that had long since been forgotten.
The reunited couple lay in Jim’s old Ute in a comfortable silence, the chilled midnight air forgotten as they snuggled closer to each other, both their gazes focused on the starry sky.
"It's funny... it's never really been like it was with us... for me," Jim admitted, breaking the silence.
"It's the same for me," Amanda looked at Jim, the love she'd always felt for him reigniting as she looked into his sapphire eyes, their times together playing on loop in her mind.
"Jim, will you kiss me?" She requested, initiating a long pause between the two. "I know what I'm asked-" Jim cut her off as he clashed their lips together in a passionate kiss.
Having made it successfully to the bedroom, Jim was leaning over Amanda, their breathing heavy as they stared lovingly into each other's eyes.
"I love you," Amanda spoke, caressing Jim's cheek,
"I never stopped," Jim replied, kissing her again as they began to 'colour'.
The sun swept past the curtain, illuminating the room, Amanda's eyes flickered open as she welcomed the morning sun. Her heart stopping as she realised what she'd done, her eyes falling fast to the golden band on her left hand. She jumped out of bed racing around the bedroom as she hurriedly got dressed, due to the sudden movement Jim jerked awake, staring at Amanda sadly. Grabbing her jacket, Amanda threw it on, but before leaving the room she turned back, and as they stared at each other they knew it would be the last time they would ever see one another as the ring on her finger did not match the one on his.