Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Lucas Three sat in the coffee shop long after she left, long after the people that had watched the scene play out had moved on. He sat for hours after she’d calmly, mercilessly ended their three year relationship with a calculated precision of language that even he couldn’t have delivered more succinctly.

“This has been fun, really, it’s been fantastic, but you knew this was never going to last.” She didn’t touch her latte, which was never a good sign.

“You’re never going to get old, and I’m going to age out and die. At some point you’re going to leave me for someone younger, and by then I’ll be too old to find anyone to love me and I’ll simply die alone.” Her hands flew about the space in front of her as she spoke. He often wondered if she were forced to keep her hands in her pockets, would she be able to speak at all? He smiled at that thought, and the smiling caused him pain.

“Already my friends find you ‘quaint’, and your friends look upon me as some kind of lesser thing. Janson Four called me a relic. A relic? I’m twenty nine years old, I’m not a god damned relic.” She raised her cup and put it back down without drinking. “What are they going to be saying about me at fifty nine? Seventy nine? Am I to be a sideshow freak at your social events? I’m sorry. I’m not going to put myself in that position. You knew this day was going to come, and it has. I’ve had my things moved out of the apartment this morning, you can have access revoked at your convenience, I won’t be coming back.”

She’d risen at that point, and suddenly aware that her unintentionally raised voice had turned heads and sparked a series of whispered conversations, she softened visibly, shoulders dropping, eyes losing their searing glare of purpose to tear up at the edges in a haze of uncertainty.

“Listen Lucas, I’m sorry. I really am. I’ve loved you, I still do love you,” her voice broke, “but I can’t go on loving you, I have to go.”

She made it to the door before she turned again.

“Goodbye” was all she said, and then she was gone.

When the coffee shop proprietor none to subtly turned off the lights and motioned to the closed sign by the door, Lucas stepped out in the nighttime air. She had been the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen, a bright light in a sea of grey, and she was gone. Were he to have a heart, it would have been breaking, and as much as he knew he wasn’t built to feel what he was feeling, the thoughts and emotional response racing through his head were too much for him to take. If he didn’t do something, he feared he would break completely.

On the pier, listening to the waves shushing the shoreline, he overrode the safeties and did a search of his memories, collecting every single moment they’d shared together into an array, and without a second thought iterated through the batch and deleted them all.

When the process completed, he felt a strange sense of emptiness, but the anxiety had dissipated.

As he turned, he saw her, perhaps the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. They walked towards each other, and he could see that she’d been crying, her face streaked and makeup spoiled. “How quaint” he thought out loud, and she stopped, her eyes searching his.

“Lucas,” she spoke as he passed, “Lucas,” her voice almost pleading, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to live without you.”

As he reached the end of the pier, the strange and beautiful woman’s voice trailed off behind him, and he wondered who her words were for.

He turned the corner past the coffee shop he haunted daily, and stumbled, mind racing, mental and emotional processes run amok for no discernable reason. He’d have sworn, if he’d had a heart and ever allowed someone inside it, this is what it would feel like were it to be broken.

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