I'm Sorry But I Cannot Stay.

It's already 6:45.

Where are you? I've been waiting at this small table for what feels like forever. I've had nearly five refills on my coffee and I'm feeling jittery. My leg twitches in that annoying fashion: up, down, up, down, nervously waiting for you.

The waitress is giving me strange looks, and I don't blame her. The cup of tea that I ordered for you when I first came in is sitting across from me. It's no longer steaming. The teacup's a little pointed reminder of your absence.

"Do you remember when we first met?" That was supposed to be the first thing I would say. Corny and cliché yes, but I'd planned out the whole meeting. I was supposed to win this time. It was meant to be a subtle attack, nothing vicious, but every word sharp and perfectly aimed.

Then again, you're not here so I guess you win. It's not fair really, me waiting for you like this. You should be waiting. I should be the one laughing at the thought of you waiting uncomfortably in this cramped café. Maybe you didn't even plan to come.

I called you out of the blue, months after the fact. I guess I was hoping for closure. That's the new in-thing relationship-wise, right? You of course couldn't give it to me. Like everything else, you had to hold it above my head, teasing me, finding it all hysterical.

It's 9:30 now; the waitress is still giving me this weird stare. It's as though she expects me to do something strange. She's tense; it's like all her muscles are spring-loaded, waiting for when she'll have to leap to the phone to call the police, or maybe to lock herself in the back until I took the money in the register, or something to that effect.

What did I expect? You to come in and patiently let me tell you off? Well, you didn't want to hear it then and I don't think you'll want to hear it now. I wanted to tell you that I've taken the new position in Denver and am flying out tomorrow.

I guess the reason I'm here is just the way it ended: abruptly, without a great deal of reason and without a lot to say. We fell apart, end.

I'm just going to leave it alone. I don't need this. I want to start elsewhere and forget about this miserable day in the café with your cold tea and the waitress thinking I'm crazy.

I just want it to end, so here it goes. I pull out a pen and scribble you a little note on a napkin. I take one last moment to think about us. If you ever see my note, what would you do? Would you choke up a little, or would you just crumple it up and throw it out?

Doesn't matter. I leave the note on the table pinned under your teacup, and then I pay the waitress. She relaxes noticeably. The little bell above the door rings when I open it and exit into the snowy night losing myself in the empty future.