"We are already strangers", she said.
"But what makes you think so? Hey, see that deer over there, it's a spotted one!"
She looked at the direction pointed by him, succumbing to his intrusive charm.
"Benny, stop behaving like a fool..." she managed to say at the end of a giggle.
"Okay, Julie...am all ears. Your turn to talk."
"I was telling you that the fact that we have a child doesn't make things any better, or worse."
"And that we are already strangers, after living together for five years. Yes, I followed you till there."
She stood up and walked towards the pond. He stayed where he was, at the park bench. And he kept looking at the spotted deer, a young one, a bit lost among the human crowd.
They never got married, but were staying together. The birth of Anna must have made things easier for them to become a regular married couple, but she had her doubts, all the time. He couldn't even remember how many times they sat here together, discussing the future of their relationship. He knew that she had her own reasons to stay away from a committed relationship, but she was also a helpless woman, left to herself.
She walked back towards him, obviously with more to tell him. He braced himself up. This time, he has to be himself, he thought.
"Julie, you are reading too much these days, and watching all those scary movies. I know it's tough to remain what you want to be, all the time, but you have to take care of yourself, of our family. Don't tempt your fate by indulging in all those frustrated people's imagination."
"Listen to yourself Benny. You treat me as if I am a mental case. No wonder I feel like liberating myself. You are asking for too much if you think we should stay together for one more year, to see whether things work out. It's already clear..."
"...That you are confused. That you need help."
"Stop it!" she sat next to him once again and stared into his eyes. He took away his glance from her and tried to focus on the deer, but it was not there anymore.
"It's a pity that you can't ever focus on a single thing. And that's one reason why I am mad at you", Julie said.
He just smiled back in response.
"Anna needs a lot of focused care at this moment. Do you think you will be a good father, ever?"
"Now, don't talk about taking her away from me."
"Oh yes, I know that it's your main problem. You need to keep the baby doll with you, and it doesn't matter whether I leave you or not. But I don't think I can trust to leave the baby doll with you. You'll spoil it."
"Come on Julie. What do you think of me? You make me sound like a total idiot, some silly prototype that you are obsessed with."
"Not entirely silly, but unaware of your ability to harm others."
"What had you been reading lately?"
"Are you serious Benny? Well, I'm reading Pride and Prejudice at the moment."
"And what's the last movie you saw?"
"It's a pity we can't watch movies together."
"It is. What's the last movie you saw?"
"My Beautiful Laundrette."
"Still stuck with Hanif Kureishi? And I bet you are reading something by him as well."
"Yes, I'm reading The Body by him."
"No wonder you behave like this."
"You are what you read?"
"I guess that's the point you made with your last boyfriend."
"None of your concern. You started this line of argument."
Benny stood up and took a stroll around the park, while she opened her handbag, took out the book and started reading it. When he returned after fifteen minutes, she was still stuck on the same page, though she wished he didn't notice that.
"Julie, look here, this is getting on my nerves, pretending to be someone else. Enough for the day. Let's go back."
"You couldn't find that deer anywhere? Frustrated again?"
"Yes, to be honest."
"How is Reggie doing?"
"He's fine. But he says he needs more time with me. Fed up with the long distance love. High time we find a gay-friendly place to settle down."
"Aha, so you come down to it, finally!"
"Yes, of course, I have to. And how is your husband doing? And the kids?"
"He's home, babysitting. Very good of him, or how else can I make this?"
"I'm sorry Julie. This thing is getting on my nerves. Perhaps it's a good idea to discuss our stories like this, but I am never on time with my writing assignments."
"Stay focused man. Grace is not going to be kind this time if you submit the work late. But look here man, you write really well."
"I wish so. Well, we must stay for some more time then. It's time to pretend being my characters now. I need real crisp dialogues Julie."
"Okay. How old am I?"
"Late forties. Just found out that you have a brain tumour. You are having a tough time with me, your teenage son."
"You, my teenage son!"
"Why not? I played along till now, being your nasty husband. Come on, let us get into more details..."
Image courtesy: http://creativewriting.ie/2012/04/16/april-16th-creative-writing-picture-prompt/