Coffee and Complaining

“I like my coffee black. You look like a young Helen Mirren. These are truths. They’re facts,” he said, pouring a cup of black coffee. The sky behind him grew orange in the setting sun dipping behind the Rockies. His bare chest was white in the dull evening light inside the small, one bedroom apartment they shared.

“That’s not fact. That’s opinion. That’s just preference,” she said, piling her hair on top of her head and clipping it. She pulled the sheet up over her naked body. The smell of him on the bed no longer made her excited. She picked up the notebook from the bedside table and propped it on her knee.

“There you go writing again,” he said. He pulled out the stool from the breakfast bar and sat on it, propped his elbows on the counter and took another sip of coffee.

“And there you go drinking your coffee again. And complaining.”

Rachel started scribbling in her notebook and rolled over onto her side, back toward Jonathan and her face toward the darkening sky. Jonathan pushed back against the counter and topped off his coffee. He walked back into the bedroom, pushed open the French doors against the walls. He sat down on the bed.

“Come on Rach. Let’s just lay and talk, like we used to.”

“I asked you not to call me that,” she said. She slid further to the side of the bed. “Look, I’ve got to work on this story. I don’t have time to just lay here.” Rachel stood up, her nakedness a reminder to Jonathan of the past summer laying their bare bodies on top of each other on the top of Tenderfoot Mountain in the falling twilight.

She picked up her jeans off the floor and pulled them on, pen in between her teeth and the notebook held by the top corner. The notebook had taken his place. Jonathan seethed with anger in his body. He leapt off the bed and ripped the notebook out of her fingers.

His body slid out of the bed like a snake,” Jonathan read out loud from Rachel’s notebook.

“Give it back asshole.” Rachel lunged for the notebook.

“Is that me you’re writing about?” Jonathan asked, throwing the notebook at Rachel. The metal rings caught her across her cheek. “I’m a snake to you?”

Rachel sat down on the bed and rubbed her cheek. “Not everything is about you Jonathan.”

“No, it hasn’t been about anyone but you since you got back. What happened to you?”

“Nothing happened.” She folded the notebook close and picked up her bra and sweater from the floor. She walked into the bathroom and shut the door behind her. Jonathan heard the click of the lock.

“And now you’re locking the door on me?” he asked. He pounded on the bathroom door. Rachel threw the door open, her bra on and one arm in the sweater. She poked Jonathan in the chest, getting up on her toes to look Jonathan in the eye on the same level.

“This isn’t your door, Jonathan. This is my door. I pay for this space. I can lock the door when I want. I can write when I want. And I can tell you when to leave. Get your ass out of my apartment.” Samantha was calm, the pitch of her voice even.

“Our apartment,” Jonathan yelled.

Rachel slipped the rest of the sweater down over her head. Her hair clip fell out and Jonathan picked it up. He threw it at her back as she walked into the kitchen.

“You childish, impish little fuck. I can’t believe I just fucked you. You’re some sorry sack of boy. Get out,” Rachel said. She picked up his flannel shirt from the love seat, walked it over to Jonathan and draped it over his shoulder. “Get out now.”

Jonathan’s mouth opened. Rachel shook her head.


Jonathan put the shirt on and sat down on the love seat, scooping his boots out from underneath. The socks were balled into the openings and he shook them out onto the floor. He stepped into the boots, barefoot, grabbed his socks, and took his jacket off the hook by the door.

“You’re a fucking bitch, Rachel,” he said, curving his mouth around her full name. “You may not think you’ve changed but you have. You’re different. And don’t you come crawling back when you figure out that this,” Jonathan pointed at Rachel, “isn’t who really are.”

Jonathan slammed the door shut behind him.