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Four Responses to "I Miss You"

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-:- The first response -:-

“I miss you,” he says.

“I miss you, too.” She speaks like it’s an automated response, the way she’d move her lips to kiss Harry back. She exhales another breath of smoke in the hopes it clouds her head.

But Benny can tell, he can always tell. Benny laughs, a sharp bark that scrapes against Beth like a stone wall. “No, you don’t.”

He just said he missed her, wouldn’t it be natural to say it back? “What the fuck, Benny?”

“Don’t lie to me, Beth.” From New York, Benny knows he needed to say it once, that’s all, and then he’d be okay. He knows she can’t say it back, shouldn’t say it back, because that might change everything. So he shuts her down, in a way that’s a thousand times more painful than sure you do.

She hangs up the phone.