He stared at her in disbelief. The shock, rendered him speechless. Strange reactions were taking place within his body, incongruous memories of the Big Dipper flashed across his mind. But this stomach churning, free fall sensation, was not pleasant or exciting. The icy slither of feeling that seized his tail bone was the precursor of a cold sweat that drenched his body. He was in shock.
She had averted her eyes after her bald announcement that their affair was over, and now she refused to meet his gaze. She sat there, eyes downcast, and fiddled with a loose thread in the dirndl skirt that was his favourite. The silence was oppressive.
“But why?” he pleaded, “What do you mean ’It isn’t working out’. Only last night we were discussing our holiday plans.”
“You were discussing your plans!” There was a slightly spiteful edge to her voice, “If you really thought I’d spend my summer holidays messing about with smelly fish and watching you drink beer you are even stupider than I thought!”
“If that’s all it is,” he said, a feeling of relief flooding his body, “We’ll go somewhere you want to go. How about Wrest Point? or Surfer’s? Hell, we could go to Bali. Honolulu, Disneyland!” he added desperately. He mopped his brow.
Her cheekbones showed a delicate flush “It’s not just that.” She still didn’t look at him. “I don’t want to be in a relationship. That’s all.” Her attention was now firmly fixed on her friendship ring. She twisted it round and round, finally working it off her finger and clenching it in palm of her right hand. “Here. You had better take this.” She leaned forward and placed the ring on the coffee table. “I think I’d better go now. She rose to her feet.
Once more he seemed to be in a nightmare. The world was topsy turvy. His reality was shattered “But WHY?” he cried. He felt empty, cold and empty. Lacking an answer, he continued, I suppose you’d better.”

She moved towards the door. Suddenly he stood before her. She flinched apprehensively as he raised his arm.
He opened the door for her. “Goodnight” he said.

H.St.V.Beechey, October 1993.