Thorns and vines

wild blackberries

“She’s human kudzu, a smothering parasite choking the life out of you.” He asked for my honest opinion, and I wasn’t holding back. “It’s a mystery to me why you’re with her.”

I agreed to meet him for coffee after cutting him out of my life for the past three months. His girlfriend was the issue, and I was an issue for the girlfriend. She couldn’t, or wouldn’t accept, that we were platonic friends, more brother and sister than our own siblings.

There was no ultimatum, I told him that I needed to take a break from our friendship.

When he called, he said me missed me and wanted to talk, what could I do? He was my best friend. So far, the conversation wasn’t going too well in the reconciliation department.

“I like to think she’s more like a wild blackberry vine.” He smiled his roguish, little boy smile. The one that was impossible to stay mad at. “Delicate, but plump and juicy.”

“Wild berries have some wicked thorns,” I countered, blowing on my scalding latte. “I didn’t come here to diss your girlfriend. I don’t like her, that’s not up for debate. She doesn’t like me, or like you hanging out with me. Why am I here?”

“Have you ever wondered why we never, you know?” Taking a sip of his cappuccino, his question drown in his mug, muffled through the froth coating the surface. “My wild berry isn’t the only person who’s asked if we’ve ever hooked up.”

“I never thought about it,” I lied.

“Think about it now.” His voice took on an almost angry tone.

Putting down my mug, I pushed away from the cafe table, scooting my chair around so I was directly facing him and took a deep breath.

“The things that make you a great friend, don’t necessarily make you a shoo-in candidate for a lover. You know you can drive me bat-shit crazy over some of the stuff you do. Stuff that would be a deal breaker if we were a couple, but can be simply annoying as a friend.”

“You’ve never asked me to stop, to change.” He shifted in his seat, but kept his head down, examining the filigree heart floating in the foam of his drink.

“And, I never would have.” I leaned forward and laid my hand on his knee. “I didn’t want you to change anything about yourself for me. You know what those things are that I don’t like. You could have made changes in your behavior any time you wanted, on your own, because you wanted there to be a more intimate ‘us’. Not just because I asked you.”

He shook his head, jaws clinched.

“Maybe, I just wanted you to ask.”

His words slammed me back in my chair.

“So Kudzu was your way of making me ask?”

When he didn’t answer, I knew the truth, and got up to leave the cafe.

“You don’t have anything else to say?” He stayed in his seat, twisting around to watch me walk out.

With my back still turned, I flipped a parting gesture. “Deal-breaker.”

This week’s Studio30 Plus prompt is “Plump,” and/or “Mystery.”

14 thoughts on “Thorns and vines

  1. Great dialogue, good tension, and I love the “deal-breaker” line. I was worried you were headed for a “Love Boat” ending, but no! And the parting gesture was a nice touch.

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  2. You’re totally tying in both prompts in this. You used the word plump, yet the notion of mystery was everywhere in the piece. Nicely done Tara!

    This line: “Have you ever wondered why we never, you know?” I think I would play with the punctuation like this “Have you ever wondered why we never…” He looked into his coffe “You know?” I think the awkwardness of the question needs more of a pause where he rather fishtails…

    I didn’t understand the use of kudzu in the end: “So kudzu was your way of making me ask?” What is the meaning of it here?

    Loved the dialogue. I felt it was a true flow between two friends in a strained relationship.

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    1. The last reference to kudzu refers back to the first line, where the woman calls the girlfriend human kudzu. If it were me, and I didn’t like someone like that, I would use a nickname, like Kudzu, and not actually use her real name.

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