Love Me Not

Peter droned on and on about his client meeting, and the others put on a much more believable performance of interest than I did. Because there you were, beside the front door, zipping your coat up to the tip of your chin. How rude of you, I thought, to leave without saying goodbye.

What about the deliverables, they ask, but I’m not listening anymore. I rise to my feet, and I let them carry me across the room, one step at a time. The water cooler, I remember. The water cooler, which sits a few meters from that same front door. Cup in hand, I press down on the tap. I glance towards you, only to find that you’re already looking at me.

“Nice jacket,” I must’ve said, with a silent prayer that my joke would land. “Very discreet.”

Much to my relief, you laugh. You like to tell jokes, too. “Well, I’m trying not to get hit by any cars today. That would be a bummer, you know.”

I’m laughing, too. “I didn’t know you biked to the office!”

“Yep,” It’s late December, and piles of snow line the streets near and far. You shrug it off like it’s nothing, though. You’re tough. “Gotta stay in shape somehow.”

You look good, you look fit, and I have to imagine you know that. But I swallow those thoughts deep down inside me. “Still,” I say, because something feels safer than nothing. “The wind! It must hurt your eyes.”

You let out a cheeky grin. “Well, you know. Anything to keep my youthful glow.”


I don’t know what to say. Protests arise at the forefront of my mind, yet again. You do look young, after all. It’s not a lie. You look so young, in fact, that when I overheard your conversation with Brenda about the difficulties of pushing strollers through the snow, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Days later, you and Sam took to the copy room to compare notes about the sleepless nights of early fatherhood, and I finally understood. Did you know the door was open? Did you know I could hear you? Why didn’t you talk about those things with me?


We’re always talking at the office, aren’t we? About our weeks and our weekends, our hopes and our dreams. You make sure to stop by my desk each time I come in. Innocent enough, I suppose, but unlike everyone else, you stand behind my desk, rather than in front of it. Inches apart, your breath is on my neck, and the heat from your skin warms my own. You want me to work there more often, you tell me. Only losers work from home. I can wear sweats at the office, too. Why are we talking about my clothes? It doesn’t matter. Because, for a moment, I consider it.

Anything, you said. The late afternoon sun streams through the far windows. Beams of light refract off the band on your ring finger, blinding me, almost. I have to wonder if it’s all a figment of my imagination, or an intricate delusion that I’ve crafted in my mind. But what is love if not a common case of folie à deux? And we’re all a little mad, aren’t we?

Maybe. Or maybe not. Anything, you said, anything and everything, and I believe you. I might be crazy, but I’m not that crazy. So I wish you well, and I send you on your way. All my best to your wife and kids. Back at the conference table, Peter is still talking.


Becca Fischer is a a queer writer based in Montreal, Canada. She’s been published in Fifth Wheel Press, Queer Toronto Literary Magazine, and Sage Cigarettes, among others. She is also on Twitter @bfischh.