500

It was difficult for her to put into words exactly what she wanted to say. The words were there. She had the words to utilize. Unfortunately, it was 10PM, and she only had six words left. She had used 494 words ordering coffee, conducting meetings and talking with her mom. Now, when she needed them most, she couldn't spare the words.

Frustrated, she took a moment and gathered her thoughts. There were so many complex thoughts and extravagant ways to expound on the ideas whizzing through her mind. How to get them out in only six words? Why had she used so many ordering coffee this morning? How many likes or ums had she wasted words on? 

She had seen an archaic adage printed in a battered book: actions speak louder than words; it didn't make much sense to her though. When every one of her 500 words is treated as special, actions seem cheap; they're the easy, stale ways to communicate. She could write and act as much as she wished, but with only 500 words to speak conversations were rarely idle; they were intensely powerful - a sign of affection or respect.

"I don't believe you," she said. Down to only four words now.

Lain kept talking, faster and faster, words spilling out like the glass of water he had knocked over a moment before. A tear slipped down her cheek as water still dripped onto the floor; her cheeks burned with the intensity of the candle in front of them.

He kept going methodically explaining how she squandered her words daily, wasting them on colleagues and baristas when all he had wanted was an I love you or I miss you. Verbal affection. Actions were cheap. He can't go on. This can't go on. It's not right. It's not fair. If only she really loved him.

Lain paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts. She could tell he had been saving his words for this moment. He had endured a day of silent nods, snubbed his friends without even being able to explain why. He made an example of himself, he thought, putting his feelings above his banal desire to have careless conversation with his friends.

They would ask, "Going out for lunch today, Lain?" He would nod no.

They would say, "Lain, the client hates this work you've done. Do you want to defend it? I know you've spent a lot of time on the presentation." He would nod no.

They would wonder, "What's going on, man? Everything alright at home?" He would just shrug. Nodding no would only invite more conversation and he didn't have the words.

"I can't do this anymore. I wish I could get you to fit into the life I thought we had together, but I can't make you. It just won't work out. Deep down I knew it was coming. Our lives are in different places right now."

He sighed and counted his words. She spoke her two:

"I'm sorry."