Scene: estranged couple agree to meet in a coffee shop

Philip Lawrence
2 min readMar 1, 2023

Diana scans the café. A half-dozen people sit alone. A few click on their laptops. A barista sits on a stool and reads a worn paperback. Steven waves her over to his table.

Diana settles in, then smiles nervously. Steven stretches out an arm and leans a hand on the empty chair next to him. He smiles and closes his eyes. A moment later he opens them again. “So, this is over. Getting everything straight in your mind, it’s all done, right?”

“I have been thinking. I’ve done a lot of going over, reliving what has happened and…”

Steven interrupts her. “Oh, jeez, I’m sorry. I forgot the most important thing. I got the promotion and the raise.” He pauses. “Listen, I found us a new apartment. It’s downtown. It’s close to work for me and the building is newer and there’s a view. It’s a lot better than what we have.”

“You’re moving?”

“We’re moving. I told you, I’m going to be different. I don’t want us to be together again in that apartment. Too many bad memories. A clean break. It’s the right way to go.” Steven lifts his mug and drinks.

Diana looks down at the table and shakes her head slowly. “No. I don’t think so.”

“You want us to stay where we are?”

“I don’t live there. I haven’t lived there for months. I don’t want you to change your circumstances with me in mind.”

“Change my circumstances? What are you saying?”

“Look, if you want to move, then you should move. Just don’t do it with me in mind.”

“Wait a minute. You lost me. You’re the one who said everything was okay again.”

“All I said was that I wanted to talk.”

“Yes, you said you wanted to talk about last April. I know that was only one time, but I was sure that was your first step back. And I was right.” He drinks his coffee. His eyes wander the room, finally settle on hers.

“Yes, April. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

He watches her closely.

She takes a breath. “I took care of it.”

“Took care of what?”

Diana stares at him. She says nothing, then looks away.