The conversation was not going well.
He wanted to know why she wouldn’t take a trip with him. She knew he was looking for a fight of some kind – that he wanted to hear her say the words so he could twist them back onto her, and make it her fault somehow. She saw the trap he was laying and she tried desperately to sidestep it.
She made feeble half-excuses. He pushed her a bit more and then shifted things again. This was a pattern she knew well. Her unease grew.
She waited for his next approach.
He switched the topic to something that happened years ago. A faded memory to her, but sharp in his mind. It alarmed her that he remembered so many details and that she held so few of them. It would make it more difficult for her to play the game well. He pressed her ever so slightly. He was reshaping the memory as he spoke. She had a retort, but again, they were not words she could let cross her lips unless she was prepared for the fight.
And she was just looking to avoid the fight, to let it play out until the end without conflict. But if he kept this up, she would no longer have a choice. She knew it would be an ugly thing, this fight — and she preferred not to have it.
Then, he suddenly dismissed her, and she was released.