I swung open the door and saw the one person I wasn’t expecting.
He stood there with his long brown hair sticking out from under his stocking hat and his sad puppy brown eyes looked concerned. I used to just melt when he would give me that look, but now I was just annoyed. I wanted to yell at him to grow up or get over it or something. I heard Tiffi discreetly go to the kitchen.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Your mom called me. She said you had an accident last night and she couldn’t get a hold of you.”
“Oh, right, I was just getting ready to call her. Well, I’m fine.”
He licked his chapped lips and I could see his breath. I knew I should let him in to get warm. He had to have walked here; he didn’t have a car. We stood there a moment longer. I was starting to get angry. He didn’t try to stop me when I broke up with him two days ago, but here he was all concerned. What gave him the right?
“What do you want, Parker? We’re not together anymore.”
“Um, I was hoping I could come in. We could talk.”
“Park…” I was going to tell him to get lost, but my conscience got the better of me. It had to be below freezing out there. “Okay, I’ll get some coffee.”
I opened the door wider and the dogs were reduced to wiggle fits at seeing their old friend. I walked back to the kitchen to pour coffee and saw Tiffi putting her boots on.
“I’m gonna take off, Kat. I’ll go to the office and see if I can dig it out before Mr. Strogal tries to do it himself.”
“No!” I whispered. “Do not leave me here alone with him! I’m begging you!”
“You obviously have things to talk about,” she whispered back. She wrapped her self-knitted scarf around her neck and donned her coat. “Just be strong and don’t fall for his charm. Unless you want to-…”
“Hey, Tiffi,” Parker said from the doorway, his arms full of Sylvie, the little tramp.
“Hey, Parks, got to go. Time to shovel snow.” And she was gone without glancing back.
He set Sylvie on the floor and picked up a cup of coffee.
“So, what do you want to talk about?”
“Don’t be flippant, Kat. You know why I’m here. I think I deserve an explanation.”
Did he know about Tom? Why should I have to explain anything to him when we were broken up?
When I didn’t reply he said, “You never said why you wanted to split up.”
Oh, right. This isn’t about Tom. He couldn’t possible know.
“I just want different things than you do. I don’t want to be in a life partnership. I want to be married and I want to go to church with my husband. I thought for the longest time that we could co-exist with different beliefs, but I can’t pretend anymore. I was completely fooling myself and it wasn’t fair to either of us. I’m not a vegan, like you either. I’m not a vegetarian and I hate soy milk!”
He smiled at that, “I already knew that. Every Sunday your breath reeked of bacon under the smell of mouth wash.” He looked a little more confident as he walked toward me. “I thought we were good together. You forgave me for not going to church and I forgave for eating meat. We both have a passion for animals and-,”
“Parks, stop.” His hands were gripping my arms tightly and his voice was shaky. “Why didn’t you try to stop me two days ago when I wanted to talk about this?”
“I didn’t know what to say. I thought you would come back. I thought you were just moody or starting a phase or something.”
“Starting a phase? What am I, twelve? I’m twenty eight years old. I’m pretty sure I’m done with phases! I know for sure I’m done with this one.” Ok, maybe that was a little harsh.
Releasing my arms, his eyes filled with tears. “You don’t mean that. I love you. I’ll never stop loving you.”
“I thought you already did. You didn’t even try to stop me. Think about it. If you really wanted to stay with me you wouldn’t have let me leave.”
He reached up to touch my face and I backed away.
He looked broken. “I’ll never stop loving you, “he repeated. Then he looked angry and started pacing. “What was I supposed to say? You just blurted it out and left before I had a chance to stop you. We have made this work for so long. We belong to each other.”
“No, we don’t, Parker.”
“Damn it, Kat! You’re mine.” He shook his finger and pointed at his chest.
I hugged myself rubbing my arms where he let go. Feeling my own eyes stinging with tears I said, “I think you should leave now.”
He turned toward the door and I heard him mutter, “I’m not giving up on you.” A moment later I heard him slam the front door.
Parker had never reacted with such anger about anything before. I’ve never knew him to hurt anything or slam doors. He was a passivist. Feeling guilty about letting him have it I went upstairs to cry. I will have to call my mother and ask her not to call Parker about anything to do with me anymore.