Hurt and Confusion

“No, Jim, I mean… not no, but that’s not what I meant. I mean, I’m scared, Jim.” I couldn’t find the right words to explain the depth of this confusion, this feeling.

“I’m scared, too, Shawna, but I’m also excited. I love you, Shawna. And Billy. You know that!” Out of his pocket he pulled a ring, and presented it to me, smiling.“This is for you, should you accept me.”

“Oh, Jim. Please stand up. Not now, not now… oh god. Oh god. That’s not what I meant. I’m scared for Billy! I feel as though I’m on the brink of a tragedy… the air is…mocking me.” I closed his fingers around the ring and tugged on his arm for him to stand up. His eyes showed hurt.

“Marrying me is a tragedy? I didn’t know I was that bad… I never wanted…” He stood up suddenly. “I thought you liked my teasing. I thought you liked me. Loved me, even. Was I wrong?”

“Oh Jim. This isn’t about you. It’s about me worrying for Billy.” I turned back to my mother, who was still on the porch. “Where is he, Mom?” She didn’t answer.
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