(This story is missing something. Well, it’s probably missing many things, but, in particular, it’s missing whatever Eloise would say after the paragraph that ends with ‘The idea of that was far stranger than being calm.’ Got any ideas? If I think of something, I’ll add it in later.)
Eloise had always been able to react calmly, no matter what the news might be. She had gotten a lot of praise for that as a child. She always thought it was a strange thing to get praise for since she never had to work at being calm, it was just her first reaction to anything, to take it in and see what developed.
It wasn’t a conscious decision, she wasn’t trying to be mindful, she wasn’t trying to keep calm, she just was. And she managed to be that way on a regular basis.
That’s why she didn’t react with panic when Dana gave her the news, she just took it in.
Okay, Dana was leaving her, what was that going to mean for them both?
“I don’t want to leave you high and dry here, Eloise. That isn’t my intent. I don’t want you to be stuck. I just can’t stay any longer. I think that we both have to admit that things haven’t been right for a long, long time.”
“Yes, let’s not pretend any different, okay? We know that there have been problems. We haven’t been getting along.”
Eloise’s mind turned to watching movies with Dana in her arms. Them making supper together and laughing until the had to sit on the floor. Dropping Dana at work and Dana being reluctant to get out of the car because she wanted one more minute with her beloved.
Her beloved. That’s what Dana called her. It had been awkward in the beginning because Eloise had never even heard anyone called that. She had been overwhelmed by the emotion implied by the phrase. It felt like a lot of responsibility to be someone’s beloved.
Now, she was apparently no longer Dana’s beloved. She was something else. She wasn’t sure when the transition had occurred, she couldn’t mark a moment in her mind’s eye when things had gone from beloved to this. She couldn’t admit that things were not working because she couldn’t see how they weren’t.
Dana was staring at her. Usually Dana’s face was soft when that happened, but not today, today she was closed to Eloise, there was nothing there for her to see.
“Eloise, are you even listening to me?”
“Of course, I am.” She was confused, what else would she be doing during an important conversation like this? This wasn’t a time to tune out or to do something else.
“Well, aren’t you going to say anything?”
“What would you like me to say?”
“Damn it, Eloise! Why do you have to be so frigging calm all the time? Do you ever get stirred up? Do your emotions ever come out? Can you just let it all go sometime? Aren’t you just going to explode?”
This was even more confusing. What did Dana want from her? Was she supposed to freak out about losing someone who obviously didn’t care about her any longer? Why would she want to be with someone who didn’t want to be with her? The idea of that was far stranger than just being calm.
Dana shook her head and smiled but there was no happiness in it. Then, she picked up her purse and walked out.