“You know why. Don’t make me say it.”
The world was standing still again.
It had happened many times before, but this time, it was different.
Like before we needed someone to hold us. Like before we burned for another person’s touch. It felt like we were breaking apart, and our hearts were crying out for someone to hold us together.
And until a few moments ago, a few sentences into the past, we would have held onto each other. Like old times.
Already I thought of them as old times.
“You promised me you would love me forever. You promised. You never break your promises.”
“I know. And I still won’t. This doesn’t mean I don’t love you anymore. It just…”
The fragment hung there, waiting to be finished. We both knew it never would be. We were both to scared to fill in the blank.
I thought about grabbing her hand, holding her shoulder. But we were just too far apart. And it felt like we would shatter if someone took a step forward.
I wished it was raining. At least then we would have an excuse to move.
We stood there waiting. For what? I don’t know.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this! I loved you for so long. I still love you.”
“And I love you too.”
I almost couldn’t get the words past the lump in my throat. They were harder to say now than they were the first time.
“So what now? What do we do?”
“I don’t know. I want us to still be friends but…”
“It can’t be like it was before, but I don’t want to lose you from my life. Not because of this.”
“I know, but… is this going to work?
Even in the middle of this, she could still make me smile. It was a sad smile but still, a smile.
Why is it that babies cry loud enough to interrupt dreams but we try to cry as quiet as we can, as if it were a secret?
My hand jerked upward, still in the habit of wiping away her tears.
I wiped away mine instead.
Eventually, we turned and walked our separate ways home.
Later, when it didn’t hurt so much; when we stopped reaching for each other’s hands and hugs didn’t feel so bittersweet, we hung out again. But I still didn’t have another girlfriend until after she moved away.