“You knew I was going to say something to you, right?” His mouth goes dry, his hands begin to sweat, suddenly the beautiful day has turned into a storm that no one but him can see. Was breathing always this difficult? He slowly turns in the busy parking lot, hand still on the car door, so close to safety and yet not close enough.
But when he meets her eyes the fear that has been building for months melts away. The familiar face that fills the picture frames that overflow out of the trashcan back home seems like a dream. The only word he is able to form is weak and whispered, “hi.” Not at all what he had rehearsed in the mirror and thought of endlessly for months.
The weakness and grief that radiates off of him catches her by surprise. The fight she had prepared suddenly loses purpose. She wanted him to feel her pain, to understand what she has been through because of him. Today was the day she was going to make him pay, today was the day she was going to make him understand.
But now the realization he has been through the same feeling, and that he is the only one that could ever understand what she feels brings an unexpected wave of relief. Momentarily she feels comfortable with him again, a bond once broken now joined once again with the fear of loss.
The tears that begin to fill her eyes are what his nightmares are filled with. The guilt of the sadness he caused her is a never-ending reminder as to who he is now. He used to think of himself as a gentleman, a decent enough person that would put others first. But how can someone selfless cause so much hurt? He had begun to learn, started to move on, tried not to hurt anymore.
But here she is, in front of him, on a normal sunny afternoon. His mind races to all the letters he wrote to her apologizing, trying to rid himself of the guilt. Yet he could never send any of them so he wouldn’t open up old wounds. Now is the time to say the beautifully phrased and detailed apology, and yet his memory is blank, his mind filled only with her standing in front of him. He simply manages to croak out, “I’m sorry.”
Finally, the confirmation she wants, that he isn’t the stoic headstrong man she had thought he turned into, that he is the boy she fell in love with. She takes two steps into his arms, wrapping hers around his stiff and uncomfortable body. A moment passes, and his hand leaves the door handle to wrap around her, his body relaxing with the warmth of hers.
People walk by with things on their minds: money, and appointments, and deadlines to meet. They walk by without a second glance back, for all they see is two people giving each other a hug.