You're surprised that you don't notice them come in because you've developed a nasty little habit of oversensitivity to the distance between you at all times. The last two years of listening to his incessant chatter have left you with an intimate knowledge of the way his voice sounds, innumerable fucks a perfect map of his features and the proportions of his body beneath your wandering hands. But today, for the first time in a very long time, he somehow manages to slip in beneath your radar. You have no idea that he is seated—they are seated—in a booth near the door, less than thirty feet away from you. You're not in your usual seat because the diner had been busy when you'd come in and you'd been forced to take a seat with your back to the door. The New York Times is open in front of you and you're scanning the competition like you have done for as long as you can remember, and even more obsessively in the last year since your departure to Manhattan has been postponed indefinitely. There is a plate of whole wheat toast in front of you, long since abandoned, having grown cold in the mid-November air that has rushed in through the door with the arrival and departure of new and leaving patrons. As far as you know, it's a Saturday morning like any other.
You don't notice the clamour that gradually swells on the opposite side of the diner and you are similarly oblivious to the sudden hush that falls over the other customers as the argument between the two young men near the door grows more and more heated. It isn't until it has escalated into a full-blown yelling match that the goings-on in the diner enter your consciousness and you look up at long last only just in time to hear your name.
"It was one stupid mistake! Look how many times you forgave Brian."
Justin rises to his feet angrily and begins pulling his jacket on, not bothering to wind the striped scarf in his hands around the sliver of pale neck that is exposed at the top of his collar. He leans in towards him, the dark-haired man whose name you can't be bothered to remember, his voice quiet with controlled rage.
"I never forgave Brian."
And yanking his messenger bag from his recently vacated seat, he pushes past a couple of lesbians in the doorway and heads out into the cold.
You know exactly where he's going , so you don't bother to follow him. He's going the same place he always goes when you let him down, when nothing you do is ever enough for him.
What you don't know is exactly how many times he's gone there since he left you or that it's where he goes when he wants you most.