“There’s no love for me here,” Kate said as she turned to walk out. “Because you’ll never love anyone but yourself.”
She closed the door behind her, and Geoff sat, staring blankly at the brushed aluminum door, pondering the irony of her parting shot. He was tempted to laugh at the absurdity of it, but he waited to do so until he was certain that she was not going to change her mind and come back inside, and by the time he finished, the temptation had passed.
It passed because she wasn’t entirely mistaken. He didn’t love her, of course, but that had nothing to do with being in love with himself. He didn’t even like himself anymore. Perhaps, when he was younger, Kate might have been right, but that was before the vicious, stupid world had stolen everything in him worthy of devotion or respect. Now all that remained was a brittle shell filled with bitterness and misery and hate—a monster, lurking behind a carefully constructed mask of jaded, sophisticated disinterest and ennui, waiting for any excuse to spring forth and pollute the world with its poisonous vitriol.
Of course he didn’t love her. He couldn’t love anyone.