I threw my coat into the closet without looking where it landed and collapsed into bed as if someone had removed all of my bones at the same time. I didn’t want to do or feel anything. The whole night was ruined. All it took was a single off hand comment to make me leave the party. Why don’t you love her? Why would Charlie ask that? Why would anyone ask that in public?
Clarissa’s stricken face had haunted my drive home. I tried to justify my lack of feelings for her. Maybe it was the clingy desperation that hung on her like like an old coat. Maybe it had to do with her lack of confidence. The nervous way she laughed at all of my jokes- even the ones no one else laughed at, put me on edge. She was pretty enough. Or at least she wasn’t ugly. Why did I feel nothing for her? Was I afraid?
My inner voice was silent. All I knew was that my fumbling attempts at patching the damage had hurt her as sure as if I had stabbed her. I felt guilty. How could I feel guilty for not loving somebody? It didn’t seem fair.