In Comparison

Over in the café corner, in the sunlight, Tommy kissed Hannah and everybody saw him do it. Few were surprised, most did not care. But Jonathan saw, Jonathan was surprised, and Jonathan cared a great deal.

He felt his fists clenching. That was a new sensation, for sure. He tore his eyes from the courting couple and looked around the café. Arabella, seated a few tables away from him, was looking straight at him with pity in her eyes. He surreptitiously slid over to her table and sat down next to her.

“You don’t need to ask it, I already know what’s on your mind,” said Arabella.

“Go on, super-psychic,” he said. “What am I thinking?”

“You’re thinking, ‘What does Tommy have that I don’t?’,” she said. “And I’m trying to work out which answer you want – the comfortable one or the truth.”

“Comfortable,” said Jonathan.

“Nothing dear, nothing,” she replied in monotone. “Oh. It’s. So. Unfair.”

Jonathan sighed and closed his eyes. “Alright. Now the truth.”

“He’s more charming than you, he’s stronger than you, he’s smarter than you, he’s better looking and funnier than you, and she really digs him. You never had a chance.”

“Right.” His throat felt tight. He forced the words out. “So what do I do now?”

“Leave the café,” she replied. “The world is a much, much bigger place.”

“And somewhere out there is another Hannah?”

“No,” she shook her head. “Somewhere out there is the Jonathan that really matters.”


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