I don’t love you.


I poured another whisky.

Amber liquid flowing smoothly, small waves licking the side of the tumbler. The aroma rose, oak-wood, peat and alcohol.

Twisting the glass, looking through it, into it, my words came back, like an echo, a haunting.

“I don’t love you”.

I lied.

But that is what anger does, frustration. Temper.

It makes you a liar.

I twisted the phone in my hands.

I was not sure if I was going to make the call, or if I was waiting, hoping, willing for her to call me.

Of course she wouldn’t. Not after what I had said. Not after those words.

I did not blame her.

I would not call. Not if that was said to me. Not by someone I loved. 

Which is where she was at now. Crying. Huddled, cuddling her pillow. Teardrops and mascara soaking into the crisp fresh white linen.

I drank the whisky. All of it. One gulp.

It burnt. All the way down.

I poured another. A large one. Larger than the last.

My heart was heavy for her. But why, oh why…and how can a woman, a woman you love more than life itself, make you so angry, so easily?

Was it me?

Am I an angry man? Do I have a short temper? An uncontrollable rage?


No, I do not.

I am mister average. John Doe. Fred Bloggs. A.N. Other.

I am angry now. Frustrated now. Or am I?

I have so many emotions, questions, feelings spinning around my head, my mind, I do not know what I feel.

I know how I feel.




These sensations are not just in my head; they are flowing through my whole body. I feel sick, hungry, anxious, wild, sad, tearful, from the pit of my stomach to my fingertips and toes.





The whisky should help. It should deaden the senses.

But it doesn’t.

Still, I tip the glass, letting the smoothness of single malt drizzle onto my tongue. I savour it this time, taste it.

It still burns, but a pleasant pleasing burn, warming. Comforting.

I pick up the phone again. My fingers dance over the screen. I am shaking. Scared.

Scared of what I ask myself?

I have lost her already. I have nothing more to lose.

Except myself.

Myself. I chuckle at that. I hold no value of me.

I am worthless. So again I have nothing to lose.


This time, I fill the glass, almost to the rim.

I drink a third. Three quick sips.

There is no burn anymore, just the warmth, a silky warmth tinged with a hint of sadness. A lingering aftertaste of longing.

I slide a cigarette from the pack, resting the filter against my lips as I breath in, pulling the flame closer. The cigarettes end glows red.

I exhale, softly, slowly. Letting the smoke twist its way upwards, towards the ceiling. Here and gone.


As I wish my words had.

The table holds a few items. Whisky bottle, glass, lighter, cigarettes, phone, Colt 45.

I have used four items.

Just the phone and gun to go.

Call her?

Or not?

If she says she hates me. No loss.

Nothing of value to lose, except a single shell.

If she does not answer. No loss either.

I will still get the message.

Or not to phone.

Not to chance her wrath.

Just pick up the 45.

Get it over with.

Why do I want to call her? I wonder.

To say sorry?

To say I was wrong?

That I made a mistake?


“I don’t love you” is not a mistake. It is a clear, precise sentence.

A sentence I uttered.

Foolishly. Unmeant. Stupidly. Without thought.


I stroke the black glass of the screen once more, a little to firmly. It lights up and there she is; smiling at me, laughing.

I should delete her picture. I think.

I don’t want to press call.

I am scared, frightened. Yet my finger squeezes down.


I want to stop it.


I cannot move. I cannot function.

Her voice.

“I love you” she says, “I am sorry. I’m missing you”.

I still can’t move.

“Can I come over…like now, right now. Because I need you. I want you to hold me, tight, forever”.

I lift the phone and say…


 © Paul White 2016














Looking in the rear view mirror I could see her scribbling away, scribbles, shapes, stick men, stick cats, dogs, all sketched on small yellow sticky note squares. Some were now stuck to the door, others at odd angles on the window and, no doubt, many stuck to the back of my driver’s seat.

It was the quietest Georgina, my four year old daughter, had been all day. I kept glancing back, often taking my eyes from the road longer than I should, longer than was truly safe. But Georgina mesmerised me. The way her curly golden hair framed the pale unblemished skin of her face, the sparkle of her blue eyes and the way she bit down on her bottom corner of her lip as she concentrated on drawing with the brightly coloured felt tip pens on those little yellow pieces of paper.

I know, as her father I am somewhat prejudiced in saying she was the most beautiful child in the world; but that is my right, my unquestionable belief and my own undeniable truth. Yet, still I challenge anyone to declare Georgina is anything but stunningly gorgeous.
The radio was turned down low, the music nothing more than a gentle tempo, a harmonious accompaniment to the sound of the tyres rumbling over the tarmac.

After some time I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, neither Georgina nor I had uttered a word for the last ten or eleven miles. I think it is an adult thing, a sense of duty, a sense of being expected, obligated, to do something more than just sit in silence when you are charged with the care of a child.

So I spoke, hoping to engage Georgina in some form of conversation.
She was drawing with a day-glow pink pen when I asked “Do you like pink?”

“Yes” she replied, not looking away from her work.

“Is that your favourite colour?”

Georgina said “Yes. They are all my favourite colours. I like all the colours”.

“And what are you drawing?”

“A cow”

“What is your favourite animal?” I asked.

“I love all the animals”.

I was bemused, continuing I asked her “Which day do you like best?”
Georgina stopped colouring and lifted her head, her clear blue eyes looking directly at me. “I love every day Daddy, don’t you?” She smiled and settled back to her drawings.

I let her be, left her to sketch uninterrupted.

A large smile spread across my face as it dawned upon me, I had just been taught an amazing lesson by the innocence of a young child.

© Paul White 2015

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