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The Coward Texts

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Chapter 8: You Belong to Me


And I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too

Fly the ocean
In a silver plane
See the jungle
When it's wet with rain
Just remember till
You're home again
You belong to me

Jason Wade



Day 6

You were dreaming about the last day you saw Gail again.

It was oddly anticlimactic. The ending. Thinking too long and hard about those last few hours always leaves you feeling empty and unfulfilled. Though, when you let yourself face reality, the ending had started, long before those last few hours. It has started with Gail’s decision to walk out of the Penny that night and then proceed to ignore you like a teenager with their first broken heart. Then it was proceeded by your unwillingness to give Gail what she needed to come down from her metaphorical tree, because, your pride told you it would make you weak and you didn’t beg ANYONE to be with you. Then, your selfish want of a better ending had your lips on Gail’s in an interrogation room, before you really registered what you were doing.

‘I leave in 2 weeks.’ You stared at her, with that small regretful smile and watched, as the news began to sink in.

Disbelief with a touch of pissed off and a side of panic. Yep, it was the exact look. The very one she gave when you uttered ‘I’m seeing someone.’

And just as she had that day, she fled. She was out of the locker room so fast, you barely had time to register you had finished your sentence.

You ran after her, unapologetically yelled her name in the middle of 15, but she didn’t stop. She acknowledged she had heard you with the dismissive wave of her hand, but she never looked back. You knew you weren’t going to catch her.

‘Fuck.’ you whispered

‘Holly?’ you heard Oliver’s voice behind you, ‘Everything okay?’

You didn’t want to air your respective dirty laundry right here at 15, so you sighed, rather loudly, turned to face the kind man Gail loved, smiled, and then you lied.

‘Yeah, everything’s good.’

‘I see. Is that why Officer Peck just sped out of here like there was a cheese puffs sale at Walmart?’

You looked away. Your eyes never lied and they could be used as weapons against you.

Oliver stepped a little closer and lowered his voice. ‘Look darlin’ I don’t know what’s going on, but I know a hurt Peck when I see one.’

‘Its complicated.’

‘She’s a Peck, and she’s Gail. If there is one thing you can count on, its going to be complicated.’ he chuckled.

‘I think I fucked up.’

‘Hmmmm. Is there some way you can think of to un-fuck up?’

‘Not unless you can convince her to move 4000 km away with me in a fortnight.’ She adjusted her glasses ‘Look Oliver, I appreciate, but I need to find her.’

He paused, processing your last sentence. ‘She’s gonna be some kind of awful when you do.’

And its Mr. States the Obvious! – don’t say that. ‘I know.’

‘She’s gonna claw and scratch and bite if you let her. Approach with calm caution Dr. Stewart.’

‘Duly noted.’




You were shocked by the eerie calm when you found her. It was a beautiful day, light breeze, enough for a light jacket, but not damp, and the sun was brilliant. She was so still, on the rock she chose to occupy by the water. This was not Gail Peck. She wasn’t crying, she wasn’t snarky, she wasn’t anything and you were frightened. You didn’t know how to approach this Gail Peck.

‘Don’t bother Holly.’ She said without moving a muscle.

‘Don’t bother what?’

‘Don’t bother saying whatever it is, you are standing over there, trying so hard not to.’

‘Wow. Okay. So that’s it? We don’t talk, we don’t feel, we don’t try-?’

‘Oh I’m sure we’re feeling lots, and try what? The hard reality is we both made choices. I didn’t choose you and you didn’t choose me.’


‘Don’t Holly. Don’t. I can’t handle your explanations, your platitudes or your over analytical, rational fucking brain right now. Just go. Please. I don’t want to see you.’

‘This isn’t all on me Gail.’

‘Never implied it was Holly.’ She paused and finally looked you in the eye. And that is when you saw Gail Peck’s heart breaking. You were so mesmerized with the swirling emotion dancing in her eyes, that you actually flinched when she spoke those last 6 words. ‘What we are Holly, is over.’ The tone was enough to make you step back. Her voice was like a flat calm. The line was delivered with absolute certainty. And you realized, this was it. This was your end.

Gail’s eyes were ice. A flash frozen pond on a snowy winter day. The shock washed over you like a rocky mountain wind rising up from a hidden valley. You stared at her leather clad back until it was clear she was not going to turn around. You had never felt more defeated, even though part of you knew she was right. What was there really to talk about that wouldn’t just make it hurt more...make it harder? Your heart was starting to shatter and It was getting hard to breath. Time to go Holly. It had been decided. So you took one last look at her beautiful silhouette, taking in the moment, because most meaningful moments are over before we even realize they began. And then slowly, you turned, and walked away, from Gail Peck.

Soooooo you okay?

Oh yeah, I’m great! That went well! Fuck off.

At least there was no yelling?

If she was yelling, I would at least know she was feeling something. Gail always goes for anger. So what does this say about me? Or us?

You think you are no longer worthy of her anger?

Boy, nothing gets by you. Honestly, my subconscious should be smarter than this.

Easy Dr. Stewart.

Don’t you dare take that tone with me. I will NOT calm down.

What are you going to do?

I am going to wrap my hands around your little neck....

Not about me! About her!



You heard her! Did she stutter?

How we act and how we feel are not always one in the same.

You know what? This is stupid. I have a great new job that I worked my ass off to get, in a great new city. So what if some girl doesn’t love me.

And the denial begins...

You can go now.

That was the last time you saw her. You shamelessly begged Traci to program your new number into her phone when she wasn’t looking. I mean that was her way wasn’t it? You just had to leave something. It couldn’t end like this right?

Gail...Gail fucking Peck.




Beep Beep Beep

Wow, that is really annoying. Still half in your dream. What the hell is beeping in my car?

Your head snaps awake and you are out of your hospital chair before you even register someone grabbing you around the waist from behind to stop your forward momentum.

Holly!’ againHolly!’ It was Steve. Gail was surrounded by doctors. The beeping was coming from Gail. FUCK!

You stopped struggling and forced a calm you didn’t really possess.What happened.’

‘She just started thrashing and everything started going off. I don’t really know. The doctors were here before I could even call for someone.’

Holly started to listen then... ‘ push 5 mg of etomidate and 10 mg of ketamine.’ They had already shocked her. Jesus Christ!




Hours later

You mindlessly throw another card at the chair, not caring that you have missed for the hundredth time. You barely register Steve’s shoulder lighting touching yours as he too misses with graceless aim. Gail had been stabalized and the two of you had silently, somehow, agreed that a deck of cards, the floor and a chair was the best way to pass the endless waiting.

‘So I did that?’

‘Yep, all 503 of them.’ You chuckled

‘Bugger. She is going to be homicidal when she finds out.’


‘Do you reckon she is doing this to see how long we’ll last?’ asked Steve as he again, missed the chair. The incessant low grade beeping from all the machines was driving you mad. You had a love hate relationship with those machines. They were keeping the love of your life alive, but they were a reminder that she wouldn’t be without them.

‘Don’t tell me I have been pulled into some weird Peck Olympics Endurance test, because I can kill you both, in a way you won’t expect it, in the blink of an eye and hide your bodies so effectively and efficiently, that they won’t be found until some advanced species visiting our long ago dead planet, digs them up to find out who used to live here.’

Steve slowly moved away. ‘I can see why she was drawn to you. You could get rid of Mom.’

They started laughing and they couldn’t stop. It was a tired, hysterical, grief ridden, tears rolling down your cheeks, we so need this, laugh.

‘What could possibly be funny right now?’ you quickly scanned the room. No one was there except you and Steve.

‘Gail’ you whispered and jumped up so fast that Steve, who had been leaning on you during your shared laughing fit, unceremoniously fell over.

‘Oww Stewart! Jeez.’ Then, he too registered that Gail was awake and jumped up so fast he knocked the chair over.

‘What’s with all the noise.’ Gail’s gravelly voice declared.

‘I can’t believe you’re awake.’ Steve whispered. Gail was starring at you confused.

‘Wow, they must have given me some really great lesbian dream drugs, because I gotta say, Steve? You are looking alot like Holly.’

‘Holly is here Gail.’

‘Shut up. That is NOT funny. Not even a little bit brother.’

“Gail, I’m here.’

‘Wow. REALLY great drugs. How’d you do that Steve?’

‘Baby, I’m here and Steve’s here.’

‘So you and Steve aren’t the same person?’ you could see she was desperately trying to grapple through the drug induced haze.

‘No. That would be weird.’ You say, chancing a small smile at Steve.

‘Yeah, I am pretty sure, I could never pull off Holly’s brain, let alone how awesome she looks in heels.’ He adds.

‘Don’t give me mental images like that when I can’t process them properly.’ Gail groans

‘Which? The one where Holly looks hot in heels or the one where we are the same person and you now have the heebie jeebies?’

You see Gail desperately trying to process Steve’s words.

‘Gail, honey? I am going to go get the doctor.’ You say gently

Gail tightens her hold on your hand ‘No’ she says much clearer than she should be able to ‘if this is a dream, then when you walk out the door, you’ll be gone again.’ And you see the barest hint of tears cloud her eyes. Leaving this woman, might just trump ANY bad decision you have ever made.

‘I’ll go.’ Steve immediately offers and quickly exits the room.