Slip of the tongue or just tongue-tied. Tara had no clue. Ryan had been sending out these mixed messages, disguising them as innocent mistakes, and then going about his usual business of playing ‘hide the feelings’. Now he was talking to her friends. About her. Behind her back.
“…she shouldn’t have to…”
What came before or after the phrase didn’t matter; the phrase was so powerful and said so much that the rest was overkill. It kept her up at night wondering just what in the heck it all meant.
Tara thought she knew him. But that knowledge – perceived or otherwise – didn’t make it easier when he tossed out such an offhand comment about their relationship. It didn’t make her not analyze every utterance to the point of distraction. And it caused her pause with every sincere gesture he offered.
Ryan quickly removed the ‘have’ and the statement became a chastisement of her girl-emotions. Tara wondered. You don’t take sociology for two years without becoming a keen observer of people. Furthermore, you don’t grow into a ‘woman of a certain age’ without learning a little bit about men. He was bluffing; she was nearly certain of it.
But thinking she was right was a long way from knowing she was right and so she continued to replay the scene in her mind over and over. Would she ever know his true feelings? Could these simple misinterpretations be what kept them together or pulled them apart? And would Ryan ever truly tell her how he felt about her?
These were questions that shouldn’t have to be answered. And maybe that was Tara’s answer all along.
Blogger’s Note: This is a work of fiction. I repeat, this is a work of fiction. Do not freak out.