So Jimmy told me he wants to marry Alyssa and I know he knows I hate him for bringing it up. Jimmy and Alyssa have been going out for a year. Is going out even a good description of their relationship? It sounds too nice almost, too much like something real couples would do. Jimmy and Alyssa aren’t even an item in my eyes. She is going to leave the bum any day now. It won’t even be her leaving him.
It’ll be just like this: one morning she will wake up and she will realise what a complete failure the guy is. It’ll be an epiphany, a moment of clarity. She’ll figure what an absolute idiot he is. And that she better not waste another second with that prick.
She still loves me, I say. And the more I say it the more I know it to be true. That’s what I’m thinking in my head when Jimmy’s talking. He’s made me see him for a drink at a pub I’ve never been to. I didn’t want to come, but I fear if I don’t he’s gonna tell Alyssa that I didn’t come and she’ll get worried about me and start asking questions. Alyssa worries a hell of a lot and always asks the difficult questions.
‘I am going to marry Alyssa,’ Jimmy says.
‘OK,’ I say.
‘I just wanted to let you know.’
‘Is there anything else?’
‘No. There is nothing else.’
‘OK,’ I say.
He says, ‘Are you sure you’re OK about this.’
‘Are you sure? I know you like Alyssa.’
Love, you stupid idiot. What we had transcended like, it transcended love even. What I felt, still feel for her might as well be the definition of the word L O V E in the dictionary.
‘That’s not important,’ I say. ‘I want Alyssa to be happy. I remember that she was happy with me. When we were together I was happy and she was happy. I’d take her on walks. We went to the movies. We were happy. But that all changed when you came. Now Alyssa is happy with you, you say. Now, I am not happy. But we’re not here to talk about my happiness. All that matters is Alyssa. And that she’s happy. Is she?’
‘She tells me she is. I don’t believe that’s the case,’ I say.
‘Oh’, he says. He drinks his pint and smiles. ‘Why not?’
I can see he’s looking at a group of girls in short skirts playing darts. This is the first pub that I’ve been to where I saw girls in short skirts playing darts.
‘I think she still loves me. Honestly. I think she still wants to be with me, but she can’t.’
‘You really think that?’
‘I do, Jimmy.’
‘I wouldn’t hurt Alyssa. I want you to know that. But you’re not going to stop the wedding. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. Alyssa is with me now. She’s mine.’
‘I understand she is with you. But she’s going to realise you’re not right for her. But don’t worry. I am not going to be one of those people who stops the wedding, who yells out during the wedding, like it’s sometimes done in the movies.’
‘Good. Jesus Christ, at least that’s good. I am glad we got that sorted,’ he laughs his stupid smile.
‘No Jimmy. What I’m saying is Alyssa’s going to wake up one morning and realise she had wasted X months with you.’
‘X months. I am hoping it takes her less than a year to figure it out. Otherwise it will be Y years.’
‘So,’ he says, finishing his pint, ‘let me get this straight. In X months, or Y years, Alyssa will wake up one morning and realise I’m not the guy for her?’
‘That’s exactly what will happen, you son of a bitch. She’ll realise that story’s finished. That story never had a happy ending.’
‘But what you’re forgetting,’ he says, smiling, ‘is that I will wake up next to her that morning. And then she’ll give me a quick one before I go to work, and when we do it, and I do her hard, and I ride her, her hair in my arms just how she likes it, she will forget all about leaving me. That’ll be the last thought in her pretty little head.’
‘Fuck you,’ I say.
‘You know she told me you could never satisfy her,’ he says.
I look at him.
‘She said no such thing,’ I say.
‘Of course she hadn’t,’ he says.
‘So you admit you’re lying?’
‘She never said it, because you never slept with her. You never even got to taste what I taste.’
I reach over across the table and place my hands around Jimmy’s fat neck. I should clarify that Jimmy has a fat neck, but it’s not fat, it’s muscle. The son of a bitch spends more time at the gym than he does with Alyssa. I squeeze. I have big hands and they seem a good match for his neck.
At first Jimmy is calm, but then Jimmy starts to gasp for a breath. He pushes my arms away. He calls me a freak. The other people understand what just happened, and they start to scream, some of them at least. Screaming, they run away from there. Jimmy takes me outside. He tells me to go. He swings and hits me on the jaw. It feels like my jaw has separated into two halves in my mouth. I soon collapse and he continues beating me. I don’t put up much of a fight. I am too tired.
The police come eventually and take Jimmy away and they take me to the hospital.
I am summoned to court after my surgery. I tell how Jimmy attacked me. I tell the judge the horrible things he did to me with his big fists. Jimmy is a huge guy. I’ve got that working for me, at least. Alyssa doesn’t speak to Jimmy. Alyssa cries a lot and we spend time talking about it. It’s really turning, we say. We talk about picking up the threads the night Jimmy is sentenced.
Benjamin Imamovic lives and writes in Perth, Australia. When not writing fiction, his articles on surviving university life can be found here .