They had this story. It went like this: We never fight. Except this one time. This one and only time about nothing in particular. I threw my copy of Harry Potter on the floor, she would say, I was so angry. And then we both stopped arguing and just laughed because, well, my face must have, I mean, I loved that book and I … she would trail off a little there. It was very funny – not a real fight at all, he would add. We just don’t fight, they would say together, not really.
It wan’t true. Of course. It was their story and it wasn’t true but they believed it. So did everyone else. Because that’s what they were told.
She caught herself thinking about that story that was once their story- thinking about it and believing it again. It would trip her up when she least expected it and she would look around, embarrassed, hoping nobody had noticed.
They had fought. A lot. He had cheated. A lot. She had cried. A lot.
They had fought some more.
The real story goes like this: He took her trust and shoved in the back pocket of his jeans. Like a hastily scribbled mobile number on the back of a receipt. Like a dirty tissue. He forgot to remove it when he did the laundry and it turned into a shrivelled clump that fell apart the moment anyone tried to open it up, smooth it out, read whatever secrets were written there.
He got new jeans.
The clump got left behind.
As it should. After all, it’s just a clump … So she believed …
Until someone saw something in the clump and tried to ease it open, to gently smooth it out, to discover the secrets that were written there.
It took time to get that clump unclumped. He gave her time. And so much more.
She (who was a clump) and he (who is still someone) fight. They argue and disagree and say mean things they don’t mean. We fight, they could say if anyone asked them, really. They don’t try to believe otherwise. They keep Harry Potter on the bookshelf along with the other made-up stories. They fall asleep holding hands.
Now she has a better story. Their story. A true story.
Their story goes like this: Love.