Those Three Little Words
by Karen Heslop
I’ve gotta tell ya, I said it but I didn’t mean it. How could I? Let’s keep that between us though, alright? I mean there he was looking at me with those sappy-please-don’t-kick-me-kick-me-like-everybody-else puppy dog eyes, silently pleading with me to say it back. Of course the first words that came to my mind was Are you crazy? You’ve known me for like a month for Chrissake! But my mama didn’t raise no blabbermouth.
“Janet,” she used to say, “You take care o’ that tongue o’ yours. Don’t let out nothin’ you can’t take back.”
So I think a lot more than I talk but I gotta tell ya, I almost let those words in my head get out. Even with my tongue just about glued to the roof of my mouth.
We were just sitting there eating our ice cream like every other Sunday and this dude goes and turns it into a big deal. If I know Dave and I’m pretty sure I do, he probably rehearsed saying those three little words a thousand and twenty times before he even picked me up. I wondered how the conversation had gone in his head. Did I tear up, grab his hand and say it back all dramatic like in the movies? Did I just take my ice cream sundae and walk out? Maybe I pretended I didn’t hear him. Kind of like I did for about a minute after he said it. I couldn’t even pretend like my mouth was too full to answer cause we were eating ice cream, not the big thick burgers we had the night before.
But while I’m slowly chewing on the cherry from my sundae, I hear my mama again.
“Janet, we was never meant to be alone but lemme tell you somethin’. You better stick with a man who treats you right and loves you more than you love him.”
She should know too cause she loved my Daddy lots and all that got her was some hospital visits and a cramped little spot in the cemetery across the way when he was done pretending to love her. So I said the three little words back and his face lit up like a kid who’d got a candy jar that ain’t never gonna run outta candy.
All I know is some love type kinda feelings better start growing in me real soon cause if I know Dave and I’m pretty sure I do, he’s got a ring picked out somewhere. And I gotta tell ya, I’ve faked a lotta things in my life but a marriage ain’t gonna be one of ‘em.
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Karen Heslop writes from Kingston, Jamaica. Her short stories have been published or are upcoming in a Devolution Z anthology, 101 Words Magazine, Bloodbond Magazine and Bards and Sages Magazine.