Juliet Grames

You said, Hey, I remember you. We met at theóhey, are you okay? Let me buy you a cup of tea. Oh, my friends will be fine on their own.

You said, I fix cars to pay the bills. But in my heart Iím a poet.

You said, I donít care if it sounds cheesy.

You said, I have this dream of going back to school and getting my masterís in education. There are so many city kids growing up without any positive male role models at home. I want to be there for them.

You said, Do you want another cup of tea? Itís the least I can do.

You said, Sure, Iíll keep you company.

You said, The last person to order for me like this in a restaurant was my mom when I was eight.

You said, No, I donít mind.

You said, Iím going to be frank with you here. Iím not going to waste this kind of time on someone who only wants to be friends.

You said, No, not surprised. I had a feeling youíd call back.

You said, I thought you might like this place. I know you said you were into live jazz, and you havenít played foosball since you were a kid.

You said, Some day we should go to this bar in Williamsburg where they have Pac-Man. And in July, thereís this music festival.

You said, Itís been a long time.

You said, I canít just jump in bed with someone. How can you even know if youíll have good sex with someone if you havenít tried holding them first? I think itís really important to spend at least one night sleeping next to each other before you try to sleep with each other.

You said, See how nicely we fit together?

You said, It makes me so angry that you were with assholes who didnít make you feel like you deserved this.

You said, I wasnít sure which one you would like the best. So I bought them all.

You said, You canít show up for dinner at someoneís house empty-handed. Itís just a cake. Itís how I was raised.

You said, No, honey, sorry. But youíre not very funny.

You said, I love you because you think I’m funny.

You said, The first time your mom came over here and took off her shoes and socks I freaked out. Your feet are exactly the same. I saw the next thirty-two years of my life flashing in front of my eyes.

You said, My dad always told me before I got serious about a girl to go and check out her mother. Because thatís what sheís going to turn into, he said. If you look like your mother when youíre 55, Iíd be okay with that.

You said, I think my family loves you more than they love me.

You said, Youíre everything.

You said, Look at all the stuff I got for sixty-three dollars. I can roast you this ham on Sunday, and then I can make you ham sandwiches for the rest of the week. And I got these Swiss Miss cups on sale. Look, you can pick which one you want in your lunch everyday. Thereís chocolate, tapioca, and look. Banana cream, your favorite.

You said, I love taking care of you.

You said, I let you pick this apartment because I love you and having your space was so important to you. Am I happy that the super smokes up in broad daylight on the front stoop? No. But sometimes the best thing to do is just shut up and agree. And it makes you happy, so that makes me happy.

You said, Iím never coming to one of these things again. All these pretentious people trying to impress each other with their stupid accomplishments. The whole thing makes me want to drink. I canít believe you want to be friends with these kinds of people. Please, never make me go to anything like this again.

You said, Itís not like itís an important holiday. Youíre not even religious. I donít see what the big deal is. Iíll see your family some other time. I never give you a hard time when you leave me to go waste money in foreign countries, do I?

You said, Iím older than you. When you hit thirty youíre just not as interested anymore. You canít expect me to be like I was when I was in my early twenties. I cook for you. I clean up after you. Iím faithful to you. I come home to you every night. That has to be worth something.

You said, Iíd rather tell you in person.

You said, Shh, donít cry. I still love you.

You said, Then what the fuck am I supposed to say?

You said nothing.

You said, I know things havenít been right lately. I was confused, I was thinking about what it might be like to be with someone else. No one you know. But something didnít feel right. And that was you. I couldnít leave you. Youíre my life. Youíre everything that matters. I only want to be with you. I want to try again.

You said, After the way Iíve acted it must be hard to believe. But my last thought before going to sleep each night is how happy I am lying next to you. And my first thought in the morning is how happy I am you are the first thing I see when I wake up.

You said, See? How happy I am?

You said, Let me hold your purse and the ďmaybes.Ē Otherwise youíre going to get stressed out in the changing room and youíre not going to like anything. You can call me if you want me to go find you another size, okay?

You said, Iím sure your friend is a nice person. But Iím so sick of running a goddamn youth hostel for over-entitled under-employed Ivy League graduates. So what if sheís paying us? I want to be able to walk around in my underwear. Itís my house.

You said, Why isnít the internet working?

You said, Thatís bullshit.

You said, I never wanted to live here anyway. You remember that.

You said, Could you help me edit what Iíve written so far? You said, Iím not changing that line. You donít understand what I was trying to say. If you got the joke you wouldnít think it was offensive.

You said, I donít have time to read your story right now. You know how busy I am. Maybe I can read it later.

You said, I hate weddings. But this is a friend whoís important to you, so itís the right thing to do. Iím doing this for you.

You said, I feel bad for all your friends, rushing to waste all their money on these huge weddings. In ten years theyíre all going to be wasting their money all over again on their divorces. Your smart friends can be pretty dumb.

You said, Thereís no point in getting married until you have the money. Otherwise we might as well just go down to City Hall and then have a dim sum lunch. Iím going to get married when I have enough money to do it up right.

You said, Arenít we happy together like this? Donít we have a good life?

You said, I already told you, Iím not going to dance.

You said, When are you going to look over my cover letter for me?

You said, I thought you were going to clean up my resume.

You said, I donít know what to do about my taxes.

You said, When are we getting a new TV?

You said, You told me you were going to buy us a vacuum cleaner.

You said, Have you taken care of the lease yet?

You said, I know youíre at work, but this is really important. Can we just talk for a second?

You said, Can we just talk for five minutes?

You said, Itís me again. It will only take ten minutes.

You said, Itís really important. Can you call me? It will only take ten minutes.

You said, Never mind. You donít have to be dismissive. I always have time for you when you want to talk.

You said, Iím so fed up with these people. I canít handle this. I donít have to put up with this shit.

You said, Itís not fair.

You said, I know itís hard for you to see it this way now, but Iím positive I did the right thing, and that eventually youíll realize I made the right choice. All Iím asking you to do is give me the chance to show you how this is all going to work out for the better.

You said, Iíve never asked you for money before, have I?

You said, Everythingís gone to shit.

You said, Fine! You were right, okay? Does that make you happy? Do you feel better hearing me say that? I hope so, because then at least one of us can feel good.

You said, I just canít understand why you canít be a little more supportive right now. Everyone else in my life sees what a hard time Iím going through, everyone else is sympathetic. Then I come home to you and you canít even listen to whatís going on. Doesnít that seem a little wrong to you, that my own girlfriend has less time for me than strangers on the street?

You said, How long am I going to have to keep paying for one mistake?

You said, What?

You said, Are you serious?

You said, Somehow this isnít surprising at all.

You said, You realize this is coming totally out of left field. We werenít even fighting.

You said, I was giving you space.

You said, Is there someone else?

You said, Let me ask you just one thing. Did you ever even mean it? When you said you loved me? When you talked about us having kids? Growing old together?

You said, Youíve already made up your mind. Thereís no point in trying to talk you out of it.

You said, I wish youíd just get your stuff out already so I can move on with my life.

You said, Iíll write you a check for your security deposit once youíve returned the keys. And handled the Con Ed, the cable, and the internet log-in information. Re-negotiated the lease. Talked to the building manager.

You said, When are you going to have all that taken care of?

You said, Thatís the very least you could do.

You said, Thatís the very least you could do.

You said, I heard you found a new place. Iím glad. I didnít like thinking about you not having anywhere to stay. I thought maybe you could just stay here.

You said, Itís awful here without you.

You said, Itís too late now to fight for you, isnít it?

You said, Is there anything I can say?

Juliet Grames is Senior Editor at Soho Press. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is a storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Story.

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