Morgan Ward is blindsided by her boyfriend dumping her. It’s all mind-numbing, he had said. All too easy. Morgan doubts herself. Is it me?

This is another story resulting from a story prompt I found last month. I hope you enjoy it. Does it resonate with you? Comments welcome.

Luke Dumped Me Last Night

Bob Gillen

Morgan Ward slumped at her kitchen table, head in hands. The oven timer dinged. Morgan slid her dinner out and plated it. Packaged chicken Marsala and mashed potatoes. The red neon sign on her kitchen wall cast a pinkish glow on the potatoes.

She and her partner Luke had found the neon sign at a garage sale. It read Vacancy.

Luke Perrault dumped Morgan after almost a year together. Now he was gone. Vacancy was a harsh reminder, staring her in the face.

Last night Morgan and Luke had spent a pleasant evening over ribs and beers at their favorite bar. Actually, Luke’s favorite bar, because they served Molson’s Ale. During dessert Luke told her he was leaving. Leaving Southern California. Leaving her. Moving back to his native Montreal. Morgan had felt blindsided. She had no hint of a breakup. 

Luke had told her he missed his native city.

“I miss the struggles in my city. I miss the cold. I miss snow, ice, rain. The challenges to my daily routine. I miss working my way through it all. Life here is too easy.”

“Too easy?” Morgan gulped her beer.

“Yes. Life in Southern California is mind-numbing. Nothing ever changes.”

“Are we too easy?”

Luke nodded. “Yes, we are.”

“Isn’t that the point of a good relationship?”

“Perhaps, for some, but not for me.”

Morgan had wiped away her tears with a greasy napkin. “Give me some time. I can go with you.”

“No, Morgan. I need to do this alone.”

“This is crazy. Why is it wrong for love to be easy?”

“I can’t explain. I have to do this.”

And earlier today Luke had left his furnished apartment behind, and flown to Montreal. Flown back East to immerse himself in the changing seasons. And perhaps a tumultuous relationship with someone else.

Leaving Morgan devastated.

Devastated and uncomprehending.

Vacancy. A welcome sign for many travelers. For Morgan, Luke’s sudden absence created an unwelcome hole in her heart, in her life. Pushing her to wonder why ‘easy’ did not work for Luke. For them. 

Luke had said it was all about him. Morgan wondered, is it about me too? Am I settling for ‘easy’ in my life?

Morgan pushed the food around on her plate, managed to eat some of it. She washed it down with a beer. The last Molson’s Ale left in her fridge. 

My life is not easy. What is Luke talking about?

There was a knock on the back door. Morgan let her friend Debbie in.

“I’m on my home. I only have a minute. Rod said the kids are off the wall today.”

They hugged. “Good to see you. Want a beer? Wine?”

“One beer. Then I go. I heard about your day in the ER. That’s why I stopped.”

They sat. “We lost two patients. One gunshot wound. The other a car accident.”

“I keep telling you. Transfer up to Med Surg with me. Long shifts but we rarely lose anyone.”

Morgan sipped her beer. “I haven’t had a chance to tell you. Luke dumped me last night.”

“Oh shit. No. Why?”

“Life was too easy for him. He suddenly hates LA. He thinks our relationship was too easy.”

“Too easy? Seriously? That MFer!”

“Debbie, am I too easy?”

“Hell no. You have an easy-going personality, but you got a few rough edges too. Who doesn’t?”

Debbie turned to face the neon sign. “Speaking of rough edges, that thing has to go.”

“I was going to keep it. Kind of a fuck-you to Luke.”

“It has to go. Too much of a reminder.”

Morgan shrugged.

Debbie finished her beer. “I gotta go.” She stood, hugged Morgan again.

“Think about transferring. Reduce your emotional stress.”

“Today I couldn’t stop compressions on the car accident victim. She was in her twenties. Dr. Felice had to pull me away. He told me not to come in tomorrow.”

“Yeah, that sounds like you. No way you pick the easy way.”

Debbie left. Morgan got a stepladder and took the neon sign down. She set it outside the back door.

She tossed the empty Molson’s bottle in the trash.

“Easy isn’t me,” she muttered. “It was not me killed this relationship.”

The following morning she showed up for her shift in the ER.