Tuesday Morning Backlash: John Cena, Randy Orton, Raw Roster Get Depth, Quitting on WWE Smackdown

Time to look at how Raw is changing, why Smackdown is stagnationg, a talent wasted and talent breaking through. All this, great promos, and a few great matches within the best wrestling analysis on the ‘net, from your friendly neighborhood Wrestling Guy. Don’t forget to comment and bookmark!

1) WWE Raw Thoughts – John Cena, Randy Orton and Much More Character Development on Raw
2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts – Why I give up on Smackdown
3) TNA Impact Thoughts – Desmond Wolfe: JTTS
4) WWE NXT – My Rookie Rankings
5) ROH Thoughts – Faction Warfare
6) Guest Spot
7) A Modest Response – To Andy Wheeler’s For Your Consideration
8) History Time – 10 Great Promos
9) Match Review – Kaval vs. Jay Lethal
10) Personal Life/Blog/Whatever – About Us Chapter 3

1) WWE Raw Thoughts: John Cena, Randy Orton and Much More Character Development on Raw

Raw began much like any other, with cliché promos from angry people standing around talking to one another. The faces were uniting to stop the Nexus, while the heels were not against the random baetdowns. All of this was solidly done, but expected. From here, however, things would take a turn for the better.

Randy Orton, long the most well-thought out character on Raw, got the first big moment, stating that circumstances forced him to be John Cena’s friend. Cena, clearly in need of allies, has seemingly accepted that Orton is with him against Nexus. Of course, Orton later shows just how trustworthy he is subtly by RKOing another man who trusted him, this time as his tag partner, Evan Bourne. Bourne’s character at this point is as kind of a spunky, junior Cena, so this was telling, as was Orton’s response to Nexus in their backstage segment. He didn’t outright reject their offers, just tossed them away. The Viper remains intriguing.

Another wrestler showed quite the Viper-like side this week- The Miz. An obnoxious, mildly comedic, cocky heel, Miz finally got the opportunity to show a vicious side against R-Truth, taking him out and injuring him. John Morrison has needed this kind of beating, this kind of elevating performance for ages now and can’t seem to pull it off, but here it is; the Miz cannot just be considered a mid-carder now. He just proved he can handle more.

The opponents of the Viper this week and erstwhile allies of the Miz, Chris Jericho and Edge proved to be pure gold, unsurprisingly. Both men are snakes in the grass and really believe they should lead Nexus. That’s perfect character development, and both men’s cocky taunting and willingness to beat on one another are the perfect counterpoint to their history and characters. Edge is a giant phony, wanting to use everyone at every opportunity, yet Jericho sees through Edge’s phoniness and truly believes that he is the only upright man around, ready to bring these new rookies up… and if he benefits from this himself, well it’s just what he deserves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqdKtVlIj7c
Not to be outdone, we have Arn Anderson interacting with Sheamus, cutting an instant classic promo. Maybe Ric Flair and Jay Lethal’s amazing TNA promo work, but Arn Anderson going at it with Sheamus about the new generation not getting it is the perfect counterpoint to the Nexus running rampant and would perfectly set up Sheamus leading Nexus against a Horsemen-esque group of faces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gauw53Rrd4M

Finally, we come to John Cena. Cena has done a good job of showing that he understands the threat this group poses. Slowly, but surely, Cena has been being pushed over the edge. He’s telling fans left and right that this is different… but it was all words… until last night. On Raw, John Cena finally crossed the line and viciously assaulted Darren Young. He has been beaten numerous times, pushed, and, like Arn Anderson, sees his company, and to the younger fans, it is his company, falling apart around him. Pushed over the edge, Cena has finally shown depth of character and humanity. In his passion, anger, and power, John Cena has showed vulnerability. He has shown he can be pushed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA8HUqt04ng

2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts – Why I give up on Smackdown

WWE Smackdown is a show almost entirely without stars. Their main event is made up of guys who have spent their careers on the outskirts of the main event or as “break-in-case-of-emergency” main event stars. Rey Mysterio was a top guy once, when he got the Eddie Guerrero sympathy push. Big Show has had the title more often, but spends the majority of his time crushing mid-carders or losing to top wrestlers. Kane only seems to get a shot at the top when it’s time for the semi-regular Undertaker vs. Kane feud. CM Punk, much as the internet loves him, was only a top star for a short time against Jeff Hardy before being crushed by the Undertaker and being back in the upper mid-card since. Even Jack Swagger has yet to look strong at all, rarely beating anyone of any quality and dropping the title quickly.

So, with all of these guys not being true main event stars, surely there’s an opportunity for growth and experimentation right?

Wrong. Smackdown has been in a holding pattern, in which it will likely remain until the time for the ScyFy move. With all the options and everything that could be tried and done on the show, from elevating new stars strongly to new formats, camera angles, match types, and so on, since this is clearly not a show going anywhere in particular, nothing new is being done. It’s stagnating with the same feuds in the same manner as always. With the smallest audience in years and no real star power, now is the time to attempt new ideas… but with only stagnation, there’s no more reason to watch WWE Smackdown.

3) TNA Impact Thoughts – Desmond Wolfe: JTTS

Desmond Wolfe, formerly Nigel McGuinness of Ring of Honor, is being utterly wasted in TNA. Coming in, he seemed like a huge deal, but since his initial feud, he’s been doing nothing of note for the company.

When Wolfe came to TNA, he was originally put into a feud with Kurt Angle. This feud garnered great heat, featuring logic, great promos, and great matches. It was everything the Ken Kennedy vs. Angle was, except Wolfe, not being former WWE, didn’t get to capitalize on it. Anderson went from Angle to former WWE Main Event Star Jeff Hardy, while Wolfe got to put over former WWECW star The Pope. When Wolfe did face Hardy, or TNA Champion RVD, he was summarily squashed in under ten minutes.

Of course, the fact that Wolfe easily won every TNA fans poll for who they wanted to see meant nothing. He was shunted into a losing, ridiculous feud with Hulk Hogan’s big mentally challenged buddy, Abyss that involved ludicrous set ups for nonsense for his valet, Chelsea. Add in the fact that in Ric Flair’s new group he is hardly anything but an afterthought left around to take pinfalls, not remotely challenging for the alpha position, and you have a wrestler fast becoming a joke. Because all this wasn’t enough, they not only have him lose to Jay Lethal cleanly, but also submit to Brian Kendrick, the recipient of a huge push out of nowhere.

Desmond is, at worst, a top five wrestler on the roster. He’s an amazing promo and worker with a great look that fans clearly want to see more of. For some reason, TNA is dead set against him being over or useful in a top spot. There can simply be no explanation for this beyond that he was never in WWE. It’s a waste of talent that Desmond Wolfe is now around as just a big enough name to job to everyone on their way up the card. Way to repay that talent and hard work, TNA.

4) WWE NXT Thoughts: My Rookie Rankings

7. Lucky Cannon – A good look, but Cannon hasn’t been remotely interesting. I want to like him because of his hard-luck life story, but he’s utterly generic thus far and really needs to stand out more.

6. Husky Harris – I still can’t get past his facial expressions, but he’s also a bit sloppy and seems… off. Unless we’re going to play him up as insane, unlikely for a third generation star, I’m not sure how much can be done with him.

5. Alex Riley – This kid does very little for me. He seems serviceable in a big, athletic way, but that cocky, Miz-like personality just doesn’t feel as authentic. His character is the guy that you just can’t stand because he’s so cocky, but Riley himself isn’t making it feel real. Add in that he’s been generic in the ring and I’m just not a fan.

4. Eli Cottonwood – I actually like Eli. He’s obviously not great, but just as obviously is working his tail off in the ring, trying to do everything right. He has a great weird look and works hard enough to be endearing. He’ll probably end up like Snitsky, but has the potential to be more.

3. Percy Watson – I admit to kind of hating him at first, but this kid has something. I have no idea what- he’s only good in the ring or on the mic- but his unique look and charisma are making me a fan.

2. Michael McGuillicuty – I’ve been told if he wasn’t a Hennig I wouldn’t like him, but he is, and so he gets the benefit of the doubt. Curt Hennig is an all-time great and McGuillicuty moves just like him in the ring. He needs to work on his selling still to be a star, but beyond that, just seems ready.

1. Kaval – Do I need to explain this anymore?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDffiBlEngs

5) ROH Thoughts: Faction Warfare

The Nexus Invasion of Raw was often compared in smark circles to Generation Next invading ROH. Both situations were young stars attacking the established talent (including Ricky Steamboat in both cases, strangely) to make their claim on the business. Well, after Raw, the Nexus angle has taken a turn to be like another ROH angle, Faction Warfare.

Faction Warfare began with the dissolution of Generation Next. Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and Jack Evans went from no names to top wrestlers in ROH with Aries as a former World Champion, Roderick recognized as a world class talent and long-time tag champion with Aries, and Evans a top flier recognized worldwide. Aries and Strong, after a tough loss, were confronted by Davey Richards. Richards was looking for a partner to help him, since he determined he’d never get anywhere in ROH alone. Shockingly, Roderick Strong sided with Davey and took out Aries. These two, along with Rocky Romero, formed the No Remorse Corps, and the hard hitting heels were the most dominant team of Faction Warfare.

Austin Aries immediately decided he needed a stable to counter Strong’s own. Aries, deciding to go with what already worked, recruited two men who wrestled just like his former partners. He tapped Roderick Strong student and rival Erick Stevens to replace Strong, while the flying Evans was replaced by gymnast Matt Cross.

Evans, away for a long time, decided to throw his hat into the stable building ring, going with fliers like himself in Jigsaw and Ruckus. Unfortunately, their main role in the burgeoning wars would be to get defeated.

Seeing the rise of stables, Larry Sweeney decided to expand his operations. No longer merely an agent for Chris Hero, Sweeney recruited Eddie Edwards, Tank Tolland, Shane Hagadorn and more to do his bidding as the smarmy, evil heel group… one that is still going after a fashion under Hagadorn with the American Wolves and Kings of Wrestling to this day.

Sweeney’s Sweet and Sour Incorporated would eventually be joined by the Hangmen’s Three of Adam Pearce, BJ Whitmer and Brent Albright, all of whom were just big, tough guys who loved to beat on people.

The Age of the Fall were a different kind of stable, focused on tag champions The Briscoes, the emo Jimmy Jacobs lead uber-athlete Tyler Black and the wild Necro Butcher into bloodbath after bloodbath.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWjtGEWEfBs

Although not stables, The Briscoes remained the dominant duo for most of this era, while fending off the challenge of Kevin Steen and El Generico. Also incredibly dangerous and forced together by all the groups floating around Team Work of Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries were extremely successful.

Ultimately, Faction Warfare failed, though not through lack of ideas or effort. While many matches were great, certain factions, like the Vulture Squad and Hangmen’s Three, simply did not work. Worse, two major factions, Evans’ Vulture Squad and Aries’s group ended up leaderless. Evans was traveling the world and had too many commitments to regularly lead his group, while Austin Aries was pulled from ROH to TNA for a time due to ROH’s PPV deal. With momentum so stalled, a snowstorm stopping a huge faction related show derailed the entire concept.

Still, there’s hardly anything as exciting as great multi-man matches and seeing which wrestlers land where when everyone is deciding on teams to join. This is an excitement ROH that once got ROH fans talking, and, now, WWE fans get the same excitement.

7) A Modest Response to Andy Wheeler on Embracing Wrestling

Here’s what Mr. Wheeler had to say:

“Very few guys seem to embrace their wrestling lives, and those that do should be commended. I don’t like the feeling that I’m being taken advantage of by a performer, no matter who they are. Alec Guinness always made it known that he didn’t view “Star Wars” as anything of true substance, so whenever I watch him as Obi Won, I just cannot connect with his character. I get that feeling a lot when watching wrestling, knowing that there are just guys out there who could honestly care less about the business. That feeling comes across a lot in the Guest Hosts, a collection of celebrities and quasi-celebrities that are using our platform to hock their wares. I can live with that. What I can’t live with is thinking that there are performers in the ring who hate their jobs, hate their lives and are cashing the checks paid for from our hard-earned money all the while belittling us and the programs that we love. And no, I’m not naïve. I know that there’s easy money to be made in wrestling, because Vince is always willing to shell out cast to someone who is famous or a freak, but maybe we as fans should demand more from our wrestlers.”

While the WWE is certainly not averse to shelling out cash to non-wrestlers, the Brock Lesnar experience seems to have taught Vince McMahon to be far more careful about who he markets. Between the Rock and Lesnar, the two most talented wrestlers around, each of whom should have been around for at least the last decade on top, walked out on the business. Along with those, the two biggest stars of the previous, Attitude/New World Order era, Steve Austin and Bill Goldberg, had remarkably short runs on top compared to how long a huge draw generally lasts.

With all of this, Vince McMahon has seemingly learned his lesson. Almost no one is pushed as larger than life… or, more to the point, larger than the company. Most wrestlers, even most top guys, are kept relatively equal by the booking. This allows the WWE to market their brand, not their wrestlers, making them unlikely to be killed by marketing stars who leave too heavily.

The two major modern exceptions to this are John Cena and Triple H. Cena, by all reports, absolutely breathes the business and is extremely close to Vince McMahon himself. With this the case, the WWE can afford to give him the extra push for merchandising and the like, assuming he won’t leave the business he loves. Triple H is, of course, married to Stephanie McMahon and part of the family, as well as a man who loves wrestling.

Other larger than life stars include the past generation’s Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. These two could be trusted as WWE lifers, but more, as former territory guys, the business was just different to them.

Even the current crop of stars just below the top are mostly unlikely to leave. Randy Orton, the closest to the Cena/H class, is a third generation star, and he is perhaps the most likely to leave the business. Edge and CM Punk both wanted to be wrestlers from childhood and are unlikely to leave. Sheamus is too strange looking to do much else, and he is reportedly close with Triple H, which earns him trust. Jack Swagger is, seemingly, another wrestling life, as he could go into MMA, but is a step below guys like Lesnar in terms of ability. Rey Mystero is a gimmick that only works in wrestling. The only guy who really has other options is Chris Jericho and, really, he’s too good at everything for them to really punish him for it.

Ultimately, even playing it safe, the WWE runs into problems. Whether Batista leaving for MMA when he’s clearly too old for it and should have stuck out WWE for the larger paychecks, or Jeff Hardy who decided that despite being an international star, he’d rather take drugs and work part-time for the “competition,” TNA, major stars will sometimes bite the hand that feeds them. As is though, WWE is working to minimize that risk.

8) History Time – 10 of the Best Interviews Ever

In honor of Arn Anderson and Ric Flair doing such amazing promo work, here are some of the best promos ever. This isn’t a top 10 and I tried to avoid most of the obvious ones.

1. Roddy Piper

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUf_So3x-l8&feature=related

2. Arn Anderson and Ric Flair

3. Dusty Rhodes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxC3oAD1iUg&feature=PlayList&p=1DD44053FF55944D&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=49

4. Jim Cornette

5. Jake Roberts

6. Terry Funk

7. Jerry Lawler and Andy Kaufman

8. Joey Styles

9. The Rock and Chris Jericho

10. Harley Race

9. Match Review: Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal courtesy of Jake Ziegler

This is courtesy of the great Jake Ziegler’s Death before Dishonor III review and in honor of two of my favorite guys to watch on television currently, Kaval of NXT and Jay Lethal of TNA. Here’s an ROH match from early in Lethal’s career.
Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal
They start off immediately throwing hands in a vicious slugfest. Lethal hits the first big move with a springboard dropkick that sends Ki to the floor. Back in the ring Lethal hits a snap suplex for two. Lethal hits a backbreaker for another two-count. Another suplex gets two again. Lethal seems to be having problems with his previously injured neck. Even so he hits a leg lariat for two, as Julius Smokes rolls his aluminum baseball bat into the ring, but nothing comes of it. Ki comes back with a hard dropkick to the face for two. Now Ki takes control, working over Lethal’s injured neck. Ki sends Lethal to the floor and Smokes takes some cheap shots. Lethal comes back briefly and tries the Dragon Suplex but Ki blocks it and slams Lethal down to the mat by his hair for a two-count. Ki continues to control the match, but Lethal does sneak in a series of sunset flips for two-counts.
The vicious Rottweiler sets up for the Warrior’s Way but Lethal pulls him off the top rope down to the mat as the crowd chants are dueling. Lethal gets his second wind and takes the fight to Ki. He hits an atomic drop, a gutbuster, and a gut wrench suplex for a two-count. He hits a neckbreaker for another two-count. Lethal tries the running vertical suplex but Ki slips out and hits a leapfrog double stomp. That’s awesome. Ki tries a Ki Krusher but Lethal reverses to a small package for two. Once again Lethal tries the running suplex but Lethal avoids it and hits the shotgun dropkick for a two-count. Ki goes up for a Super Ki Krusher but Lethal fights it off and hits a diving headbutt for a near-fall. Smokes gets on the apron to distract the referee and gives Ki the bat. Ki tries to hit Lethal with the bat, but Lethal ducks and hits the Dragon Suplex! Smokes dives in the ring to break up the pin and the match is over at 15:12.
For some reason the referee calls the match a no-contest rather than a DQ win for Lethal, which seems logical. Smokes tries to piledrive Lethal, but Lethal avoids it and tries the Dragon Suplex. Homicide comes out to save Smokes and Ki. The match was way better than I remember it, with great intensity and hatred permeating the match. This is kind of a forgotten feud but it certainly did a lot for Lethal.
Rating: ***½
10. Short Story: About Us, Chapter 3

In section 10 of each, here is Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

As she walks in the diner, he looks up, says a prayer to a God he’s long since abandoned, and they think, almost in unison “Well, here goes nothing.”

The diner is one of those old ones that that sprung up everywhere all throughout the 1950s. Those diners with the three neon lights outside (one of which is inevitably flashing), the big empty, never been filled, parking lot, and the grumbling waiters and waitresses, one of which is always grumbling more loudly and crankily than the others, and quite likely slamming things. This diner was put in the wrong place, somewhere forgotten where life and time had passed it by, and as a result, was more run down than the others of the same type. Quieter, dirtier, and more easily overlooked: a place that was left behind when the rest of the world had moved on, and a place where old dreams came to be forgotten.

He spotted her from his booth in the corner as she walked. “Oh wow, she’s as beautiful as ever. I never thought anyone could look so good walking into a pink room with fluorescent lighting”, he thinks as she makes her appearance, quickly hanging up his phone. She had made herself up, overdressing slightly, putting on just enough make up to enhance her beauty without the make up being noticeable, wanting to remind him of her attractiveness without him noticing anything overtly different from her usual appearance. Her reminder was utterly successful, not that he needed it. He was having enough trouble keeping calm that her reminder could hardly provide more than an accent on top of his already overtaxed senses. As he attempted to keep calm she felt an odd fluttering within her as old emotions awakened.

As he flashes that same, old smile that he saved just for her, just for when he really wanted to get his way, with all the charm he can muster, he says “Hey beautiful. How you been? Miss me?”

The anger is evident in her every feature, but especially in the creases around her eyes. She thinks, “He’s doing it. He’s pretending nothing’s changed. Asshole. This was a mistake.”

“Hello, it’s been awhile. I’ve been good. You?”

“I’ve been better, I’ve been worse,” he replies with, and he tails off into a worried silence. “She won’t forgive me,” he thinks, with the first faltering of a hope that just minutes ago seemed so sure.

“Great, he has nothing to say. Why am I here again? Lets get this over with,” She thinks and then says,

“So, why did you call me here, after all this time?”

“Okay,” he thinks, “so much for the small talk. I guess its time to get to the point. “I’ve been thinking about you, about me, about us,” he begins, as he had begun in his head for nearly every night of his year alone, before being interrupted by the waitress.

A slightly older woman, she wore the creases on her face, not of age, but of a hard life that had observed more pain, more beginnings like this one, in this dead-end diner, more times than she could possibly remember. She hoped her slight interruption, a slight change in mood, might change the course of their conversation; she felt she had to try something to take these two off their disastrous course. She tells them her name is Sara, and asks for their orders.

Flashing up an annoyed glance, now completely flustered, he asks for “A coffee, four sugars but leave it dark.” It is the same drink he ordered on their first date, after dinner, and ever since, thinking it lucky since that had been the day that he had found her. “I wonder if she’ll notice.”

“And you, Miss?” asks Sara.

“Well I’d like…”

Bothered by her completely missing his intention, he begins to speak without thinking. “No, no, let me: a coffee, real light with milk, not cream, two sugars, and a cup of ice, in case it’s too hot.”

“Yes, that please.” She nods, her eyes finally beginning to soften, even widening slightly, “You remembered.”

Honestly surprised at her reply he says, “You had it on our third date, the rushed one during your lunch break. You spilled it all over yourself and ended up not going back to work anyway. You always used to like a cup in the afternoon to help you get through the day.”

“I can’t believe you remembered.”

“I never forgot.” And he had it: a moment between them where the pain had never existed. A moment, at long last, a moment, so treasured once lost.

A quick “Will that be all then?” from Sara, now hoping against reason that she made a difference.

A distracted “Yeah, sure” later and they were alone again, their moment gone, but hope’s spark rekindled by her anger’s softening.

His much considered plan had been put aside. This was not the time for it. This was the time to speak the feelings which had led him to the abandoned speech.

“So,” he began again softly, the act of surety and control drifting farther and farther away, being replaced by a man, clearly and honestly suffering, “ So, I’ve missed you. That’s what I’ve been thinking of, about you and me… us. That I miss you.”

“I’ve missed you too,” she responded truthfully, reminded, with a regret-filled ache, of how deeply she’d shared herself with him. And then, suddenly, she giggled.

“You know what I just remembered? How instead of buzzing at the lobby like a normal person you insisted on climbing up the fire escape when you came to see me since when I was a little girl…”

His genuine smile makes him appear little more than a boy and he says, “Because I knew you loved superheroes when you were a little girl so I thought I could bring you back some of that romantic innocence.
Oh man, I miss that. I haven’t done that in so long. We haven’t spoken in so long.”

“I miss it too, but…” She trails off, looking for courage to ask what she must. Fingering the necklace her boyfriend had given her for strength she blurts, “It has been so long. Why now? After all this time?”

“It’s been too long. I tried sooner, remember?”

She glances away, unable to meet the intensity in his eyes, spying Sara intently watching them from behind the counter, and seeing an annoyed counter man slamming glasses, obviously furious at something. Wishing he hadn’t brought this up she replied, “Yeah, unfortunately, I’m sorry about that day, I don’t know what came over me.”

“You pushed me away.”

“Yeah…”

Old wounds, scars, the kind that never fully heal, not really, are reopened and bleed anew for the both of them. The pain they had caused each other through the years had been brought into the conversation.

Whatever headway they had made prior to this evaporated, and the mass of the past slammed into them suddenly with an agonizing impact: “You pushed hard.”

“I know… but it had been nearly two months,” explanatory tone shifting to accusatory, “After all those things you said to me when we last fought, how could you… how could you think I’d still be waiting?”

“It was our Anniversary. It would have been a two years; two and a half if you count before we were official…” He struggles mightily to keep his voice steady. It is a losing battle.

“I know. Why did you think I was going out? I couldn’t take staying in anymore and wallowing in my own shit. So I went out. And you called. You were drinking.”

The final accusation, the most potent. Unable to hold her gaze in the face of those mistakes he could never put behind, he attempts to change the subject, “Look, that’s all in the past. That’s not what I asked you here to talk about.”

“Do you even remember what our last fight was about? What we broke up over?”

“No…but…”

“No. Exactly.”

“I just know it was bad,” his voice finally wavering, “They were all bad.”

“It was about a shirt I wanted to wear out with friends.” His head snaps up as he remembers the fight. His blurry eyes meet hers, as she continues, “A shirt, nothing more than that. How can you expect me to have waited when something like that broke us?”

His tone falls towards pleading, “Look, I’ve changed. It doesn’t have to be like that anymore. Some things can change, can’t they?”

The waitress returns with the coffee, putting it down and quietly walking away, sensing that this was one of those old couples that always seemed to find their way to shitty little diners like these. The old couples with too much hurt in the past, the real old ball and chain, dragging them inescapably backwards. Sara had made no difference, merely made possible a moment together, a moment that would turn out to be the last one.

Sara left, knowing that the coffees would be untouched, and knowing, just like every other time (were they not really all the same time?) that this could only end in tears.

She stares directly at him, calm, her face a mask hiding her true suffering, the pain of saying this to him:
“Yeah, some things can change, and some things already have. It’s been so long. I’m seeing someone. I’m with someone right now. Are you?”

Staring down into his coffee, at the blackness that was threatening to consume him, “No.”

Neither knows what to say. Silence.

“Is…is it serious?”

“Yes.”

“Do you… is he good to you?”

“Yes.” Just like you were, she wishes she could say, but can’t.

“Do you love him, really?”

Her mask finally breaks and falls away; she too stares into the coffee looking, not for the answers, but for a way to answer. “I… I don’t know… I think so…”

“How can you just think so,” tearing his gaze away from the coffee, looking at her, naked in his emotion, “It’s love, either you do or you don’t.”

“I do.” Her eyes clench as if expecting a blow, or maybe already having received one.

“You said to call if I ever couldn’t keep it all together. If I needed you. I need you.”

Knowing that her answer cannot be enough, can never again be enough, she attempts, “You called. I came. You needed me; I’m here.”

His voice thick with old emotions, “No, no you’re not. Not in the way that counts anyway. You lied.”

“Things change. It’s been a year. You didn’t think I’d still be… What did you expect to find?”

“Why did you come here today?”

Behind the counter a waitress hopes for a different ending, knowing what comes next. Hoping against the rising of the tide, the wave crashing into the shore, the inevitable.

She answers, and two hearts break “I missed you. It’s over. I’ll always love you, but I’m not in love with you. Not anymore. I…I just missed you.”

“I see. I don’t know what to say,” he replies as she holds in her sobs.

“Yeah, me neither.”

“I love you.”

“I know. I’m so sorry. This was a mistake.” She gets up, leaving the change for her untouched coffee on the table, “This is goodbye.”

She rises and leaves the diner; her earlier composure had withered and fallen like an autumn leaf.

He gets up as if to follow, stumbles, with blurry vision, and falls back. Sitting down again he stares into the endless black, a reflection of himself.
———————
That’s it for this week. Got comments? Hit me up on aim at hbk826 or leave ‘em below! Don’t be shy now, ya hear?

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