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Four Responses to "I Miss You"

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He finds himself answering every phone call on the first ring, curses himself as he does. Pathetic, you’re pathetic. When it’s finally her voice on the other end, he feels a rush of something else that he stamps out with another self-scolding of you are pathetic. His world shouldn’t be stopping every time she calls.

The question wrests itself out before he can stop it. Are you, uh, coming to New York?” And she says no, casual and careless as they both usually are, and why is he like this, why does he care?

When she brushes him off and then has the audacity to ask him how he’s doing (maybe the first question she’s asked him about him in a while), he tries to say “good.” Usually he’s a superb bluffer but for some godforsaken reason, not right now.

“I’m managing,” Benny says. Then, the words claw heavily from his throat before his brain can stop them: “I miss you.” Her previous rejections have scratched him raw and bloody; this one has peeled him back to reveal words he never thought he’d say.

There are four ways Beth could’ve chosen to respond to when Benny said "I miss you”, six ways the conversations could have gone.