Read Love Leaps: A Short Story Online

Authors: Karen Jerabek

Tags: #love, #relationships, #chick lit, #north carolina, #contemporary fiction, #raleigh, #leap of faith, #karen jerabek, #women and love, #choose between loves

Love Leaps: A Short Story

BOOK: Love Leaps: A Short Story
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Love Leaps


a short story




Karen Jerabek


Smashwords Edition


Copyright 2012 by Karen Jerabek

All rights reserved. No parts of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission
of the author.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes: This
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please download your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of this author.

Authors’ Note: This is a work of fiction.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any
resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely

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For Kate and Lily,
my heart, my joy, my loves

Love Leaps




“I don't understand what that means,” I
stammer, trying to make sense of it all.

“Well, it just means I need some space,”
Gray says quietly.

“I know, you said that. But what does it
mean?” I ask, begging for answers. After spending almost a year
together, I'm not sure if this is his way of breaking up with

“I don't know, Emma. It just means I need a
little time to sort things out in my head,” he says.

“Are you breaking up with me?” I ask

“No,” he hesitates.

“Are you sure, because this feels like a
break up,” I say choking on my tears.

“I'm sorry. I just haven't felt like myself
for a long time and I need to get back to who I am, that's

“I still have no idea what that means,” I
say exasperated.

“Don't you ever wonder if you're living
someone else's life, just going through the motions?” he asks.

“No, I don't. Are you having some sort of
quarter-life crisis or something?”

“No, well, maybe. I don't know. I just need
some time to figure it all out, that's all. Can you just trust me?”
he asks but I can't answer him.

“Emma, I love you, but I just need this
right now,” he says quietly. “Please don't cry.”

“I'm sorry,” I mutter as I wipe the tears
away from my face with the back of my sleeve.

“Don't be sorry. I don't want to hurt you.
Just give me a couple weeks or so to sort through all this stuff
that's jumbled in my head,” Gray pleads.

“So we're not broken up?” I ask

“No, we're not,” he says, but I'm not

“And this is just for a couple weeks?” I

“Yeah, probably,” he says. “I don't know
exactly, but probably.”

“So, what are you going to do, to figure
this out?” I throw at him, finding this whole idea of taking some
space ludicrous.

“I don't know. I think I might go visit Cole
for the weekend or take a few days off from work. I don't really
have it figured out,” he says, sounding very tired.

“So you're going to take some space and not
see me at all,” I say, blinking back the tears. “Are you going to
call me?”

“I don't know. If you need me, you can call,
but I think I just need to have as few distractions as possible
while I get my life figured out.”

“I see,” I sigh.

“I know this is hard,” he says.

“You have no idea,” I throw back at him.
“You're asking me to flip a switch and pretend like we're not a
couple so you can go figure out your life or whatever without any
idea how long that's going to take.”

“I know it's really selfish of me, but I've
been feeling like I'm suffocating and I don't know what else to
do,” he says.

“Fine,” I say defeated.

“Are you really okay with this?” he

“Don't ask me to condone this. I don't
understand this at all. But what other choice do I have?”

“I'm sorry,” he sighs. “I'm really sorry. I
hope that I can figure things out and be a better man and a better

“Well,” I sigh and take a deep breath. “Good

“Thanks,” he says and hangs up.

And just like that, the man I thought I was
about to be moving in with is half way breaking up with me and
going off to do some crazy self-exploration crap where he hopes to
find himself. I'm so
okay with this.

It's late and we've been on the phone for a
couple hours. My head hurts and my eyes are tired and all I want to
do is sleep. I toss my cell phone on my nightstand and flip off the
light. As I'm enveloped by darkness, the tears start rolling down
my cheeks and I'm overwhelmed by my sobbing. Drained and exhausted,
I finally fall asleep after an hour of crying. My eyes are nearly
swollen shut and my pillow is drenched in tears. Sleep is a
welcomed reprieve.

In the morning, I toss back several
ibuprofen and chug a Red Bull. I need my head to stop pounding and
I need some energy to get to work on time, actually getting there
at all will feel like an accomplishment. As I glance in my hallway
mirror on my way out of the house, I look like I'm headed to a
funeral. I'm in head-to-toe black with my darkest sunglasses on.
Maybe I should go change. Screw it, I tell myself. This is how I
feel and I don't have time to change anyways.

I slide into my cubicle fifteen minutes late
but no one seems to care. Logging in at my computer, I start
shifting through some folders, trying to look busy like I've been
there since 8am. As soon as my computer loads, I open my email and
shoot off a message to Jessica, my best friend, giving her the
quick synopsis about Gray which I still can't seem to wrap my head

“I don't get it,” she writes. “This makes NO
sense. Maybe this is just a lapse of sanity and after the weekend,
he'll pull it together.”

“Maybe,” I mutter under my breath. I just
wish I knew what he was talking about. The mystery continues.

A few hours later, Roger waves and smiles as
he's walking by my cube. I glance up, smile back and keep on
typing. But then, I stop, swivel around in my chair and call out to
Roger to come back for a second.

“Hey, are you heading to lunch?” I ask,
trying to be nonchalant.

“Yeah, just to the deli across the street.
Do you want anything?” he asks with a smile.

“I could use a break, do you mind if I tag
along?” I ask sweetly. Roger and I are friendly but we're more
acquaintances than lunch buddies.

“Sure,” he says and shrugs, still smiling at

As I get in his car, I try to make polite
chitchat with him about his dog and his girlfriend and his weekend
plans. I just nod as he answers without paying much attention.

“Okay, so I really need your help,” I say,
sounding a little more desperate than I had hoped.

“Um, okay Em, what is it?” he asks, glancing
at me curiously.

“So, my boyfriend, Gray, and I have been
dating almost a year and things were great or well, they were
pretty good but then last night he said he felt like he was living
someone else's life and that he needed space to figure it all out.
This makes no sense to me at all!” I say exasperated.

“Of course it doesn't,” he chuckles. “You're
a girl.”

“Okay, but what does it mean?” I ask.

“Girls don't need space. They thrive in
relationships. But, men need some space here and there to get
things figured out,” he says.

“Why?” I ask dumbfounded.

“I don't know why,” he says. “That's just
how we're programmed, I guess.”

“But, he's never needed space before,” I
pout. “Why now?”

“My guess is that he's really stressed out
about something. And, he probably did need space before and either
didn't take it or only needed a day or two so you didn't really
notice it.”

“So, what am I supposed to do?” I say,
feeling no more closer to understanding this need for space thing
than I did before.

“Just leave him alone,” Roger says.

“That's it, just leave him alone?”

“Yep, he'll figure it out,” he says with a
level of confidence that I don't share.

“What if he doesn't?” I ask quietly. This is
a question I haven't really allowed myself to think until right
now. As the words leave my mouth, I'm flooded with this stomach
turning sense of fear.

“He probably will but if he doesn't, then
you'll just need to let him go,” he says practically.

“And so what am I supposed to do in the
meantime?” I ask, starting to feel some anger bubble up inside of

“I don't know, hang out with your
girlfriends more, I guess,” he offers.

“So you're basically saying that you think
he's normal, that he'll figure it out and that he'll come back to
me?” I toss at him.

“No promises,” he says, trying to avoid any
future blame. “But yeah, I think that about sums it up.”

“Alright,” I sigh. “Thanks for the male

“Sorry it isn't what you want to hear,” he
says and pats my shoulder. “Just give him some space and it will
all work out.”

“Well, do you think he's trying to break up
with me and is just using this as an excuse?” I ask.

“No, I don't think he'd be that selfish.
I've only met him a couple times at the office, but he seems like a
decent guy. Try not to worry about it,” he says with a shrug.

“Thanks,” I say, realizing my shrink time
with him is up. We walk into the deli and order a couple sandwiches
to go, while I make some more mindless chitchat that is totally


The next several days go by in a blur. I
spend countless hours pouring over relationship advice articles.
I'm devouring everything on the web that is available yet nothing
seems to make me feel better. I'm trying to respect Gray's decision
to take some time for himself but it's killing me not to talk to
him. We used to text several times a day, see each other most
nights out of the week and when we didn't see each other, we were
on the phone to check in before we went to bed. Now, all of that
has been ripped away and I'm left with a gaping hole. I checking my
cell phone obsessively, hoping he'll have texted or called. He
hasn't. I try to remind myself of that fact before I check my phone
again for the hundredth time but I can't help it, I look anyways. I
want to call or at least text him to see how he's doing, but all
the self help articles beg me not to do that. They say that the
longer you chase after a man who needs space, the more time he'll
need before he's ready to come back to you. And so, I bite my nails
instead. It's a disgusting habit that I still haven't been able to
break as an adult. But, it's better than eating Ho Hos, I

Jessica made me promise her that when I felt
the urge to call Gray, that I'd call her instead. She agrees with
the psycho babble that I'm reading about respecting a man's need
for space, especially if you want the relationship to continue. And
I do, I think.

I say “I think” because while I've been
obsessively checking my phone, calling Jessica multiple times a day
and reading online articles incessantly, I've also developed quite
a bit of anger. I'm really pissed off and I'm not quite sure I want
a relationship with a man that will just take off with some vague
reason of needing space and no agenda or time limit in mind. I want
a man that will never walk away. After reading a couple hundred
articles on the subject, I'm beginning to wonder if that's even
possible to find. They keep insisting that all men need space and
that they all take it in their own ways. Women on the other hand
don't really need space, they need to talk about their feelings and
get reassurance. Of course, that actually makes sense to me. But,
running away and hiding, while you wait for an epiphany makes
absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Men!

I glance at my phone again, and it's blank,
as usual. I blink back some tears that well up in my eyes. My
emotions are ping ponging around. I go from being pissed off to
being sad to being hurt to being angry. It's all jumbled together
and I don't like how I'm feeling. It makes me feel neurotic and
totally out of control. And that makes me really mad.

Just then, my cell phone comes to life and
pops up a message icon. I pull my text messages folder open and am
surprised by who's name is there. I was hoping it would be Gray,
but it's not. It's Sam. I haven't heard from him in months. All it
says is, “I was thinking about you, want to get a drink soon?” We
dated briefly, if you even want to call it that, right before Gray
and I met. Despite fireworks in the sexual chemistry department, it
didn't feel like it was going anywhere. So, when Gray came along, I
said goodbye to Sam and our casual fun and launched myself right
into a solid, happy relationship. Sam and I kept in touch briefly
for a couple months but as Gray and I got more serious, Sam faded
out of the picture. Somehow, I knew he wasn't gone for good but I
also wasn't sure when he'd pop back up. And with impeccable timing,
here he is.

BOOK: Love Leaps: A Short Story
2.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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