Summers 14B

Jane drank again from her beer bottle, stared ahead of her. “Brad and I weren’t going to work out. I’d known that for a while — just hadn’t admitted it. To Brad, or myself.” Another drink. “So I gave him back the ring.”

“So, this . . . thing that happened to you.” This was typically how Wings referred to that morning now several months ago, when Jane had woken to find that the world around her had suddenly changed. “Did that have anything to do with you pushing Brad away?”

Jane rose swiftly, her momentum temporarily lifting her plastic chair off the wooden balcony landing. “I wasn’t the one doing the pushing.” She drank quickly from her bottle, began pacing in front of Wings. “The thing I couldn’t admit was that the two of us couldn’t go on like we were. It was either take the next step, or call it off. Brad knew it too, but at least he had the guts to make us face up to that fact.” She lifted the bottle to her lips again, and when she realized the bottle was empty tilted her head back and upended the bottle anyway. “But for us to take the next step would mean becoming something I’m not ready to be, a person Brad wants me to become. And I just couldn’t do that.”

“But that’s what people do.” Jane turned her attention back to Wings, but this time saw the face not of a hesitant young girl from the country, but rather a woman full confident of her words. “Any relationship you’re in, that changes you, even if just a little. Yeah, getting married’s probably the thing that changes you the most.” Wings now rose from her chair. “Brad wasn’t try to force something on you. He was going to have to change, as much as you were going to have to change.”

Jane smiled weakly. “I don’t think Brad’s changed a bit in the three years I’ve known him. And I have a feeling he wasn’t about to change if we’d gotten married.”

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