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Never Say Never Epilogue
“I should have known…I’m not a princess, this ain’t fairy tale, I’m not the one you sweep off her feet, lead her down the stair well, this ain’t Hollywood…” I listened to the words idly, fading them in and out as I worked. I found it ironic that being in the very front row, my teacher could miss such a conspicuous sound rising into the air. I scratched away at the bubbles of my scantron, sure that more than half of them were wrong. My hate for math was equal to the physical pain of being injected with an acicular needle in the side of the head. And the music pulsing from the headphones of the student beside me shredded my nerves, along with the pattering rain outside and the hum of voices behind me. Little did I know I’d be thanking her and her obnoxiousness minutes later.
I turned my test over, rubbing my temples and waited for my rather ancient teacher to collect it. I stared at him, sitting quite motionless at his desk, back to me and I wondered if she had fallen asleep. I leaned back in my chair and sighed, feeling tired myself. “Holding on, the days drag on, stupid girl, I should have known.” The words blasted in a high sad sounding soprano voice. I couldn’t name her, but she was quite familiar. I tried to extend my hearing to other parts of the room. A couple kids behind me were discussing their class schedules for the upcoming year. I couldn’t believe my sophomore year was coming to a close. Time was just dripping away like rain drizzling down the window panes beside me. “I had so many dreams about you and me…but no happy endings, now I know…I’m not a princess...” I stared beside me as the girl’s song came to an end, she increased the volume. The little screen of her IPod lit and my eyes were drawn to it, trying to catch the singer’s name. But the song changed. And a very familiar formulation of letters appeared before me, giving me a little start. I nearly shook the girl, asking her too loudly “Where did you get that?!” and she looked up at me, her wide pale eyes confused. “That…song, where did you get it?!” I asked again, with urgency. Our teacher sputtered awake and stared at me menacingly. I shrunk away from his gaze and turned back to my little friend. “The music store…on Culver…” she said a little wary of me. She brushed her hand through her dark hair and it fell between us like a curtain. “So there’s an album out?” I said to the wall. She nodded, changing songs with a little pip of her ipod.
Despite the last awkward twenty minutes of class I was left in good spirits. Well, sort of. I still walked rather slowly, numbed by the equations rapidly bouncing against the walls of my head. That subject seems to have a drunkening affect on me. I saw the girl I’d sat next to, walking to her car, fast. Ironically she was parked only one car away from me. It was the first time I’d spoken in class all semester, it must be an apocalyptic sign. Maybe I should hurry too, I thought sarcastically.
I shuffled to my beastly car, the gas guzzling white giant that could be seen from anywhere in the parking lot. (Despite how people stared at me when I drove I rather liked the thing.) I climbed up onto the leather seat and just sat for a moment. I was thinking. I stared blankly at the clouded sky deciding if I was happy his album had come out…or not? Then my fat SUV began to vibrate then and the loud thrumming bass of another car interrupted my thoughts. I glared across the lot to see a grey minivan with all the windows down, spewing hip hop. The driver tapped the outside of the window to the beat of the song, slouched in his seat, nodding. “Yeah buddy you look really cool. You’re so gangster in that minivan” I said to myself laughing, annoyed. I decided I was happy, not only for him, but for me. I wanted to hear his voice again; it had been fourteen months. Not that I was counting. I pulled out of the lot, chuckling as the ‘gangster in a minivan’ sharked for my parking place. I turned onto Culver towards the music store.
It didn’t take long to acquire a copy of the album. It was in the new release section, the cover gleaming under its tight plastic. I stared down at the beach inspired cover sentimentally thinking He finally got his CD… I was happy for him.
The cashier apparently was very fond of Dominic’s music and informed me of the date it was released along with other biographical information. I’d only met young teenage girls who were this big of a fan of him; it was funny to see the twenty five year old guy get so excited. “Yes and I am very happy for this weekend, do you know why?” he said with a particularly heavy accent. “Because this weekend the band will be playing in The Tramonto Theater!” he informed me, adjusting his glasses higher on his nose. When I did not look impressed he finished “That’s in Orange County! California!” he smiled, rubbing his hand through his wavy hair. And then he saw the reaction he wanted. “What?” I said bewildered. “HERE?” I smiled. “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” I said practically jumping up and down and the cashier did as well affirming me with the time and date. We squealed happily and the little bell at the door jingled announcing someone entering the shop. A very tall serious looking man in a suit stared at us, lifting an eyebrow. My new friend was instantly sobered “So that will be fourteen ninety five miss. Debit or credit?” and cleared his throat.
Ok so I stabbed the theater name into my computer when I returned home and so the kid was off a little bit. He was coming this weekend; he would be in California but…not in OC. Tramonto Theater was a half an hour north of L.A. in small beachside town. A very random place I would think to have a concert. But who was I to judge? As long as it was in Southern California I was happy.
But I was still draped in indecisiveness as I sat staring at the concert information, unsure if I was really willing to go. I was digging up old feelings, drifting on the edge of my numbness to a place I had often not liked to visit in this last year. Listening to his music helped. It was a soothing kind of transition into remembering him. I sat my head down softly upon my notebook, listening to his vocals trail up and down the scales. I smelled the ink from whatever pen I’d chosen for the day. I distracted myself and stared up at the eighty four pen set by my printer, laughing somewhere inside about my obsession with writing utensils. The ironic fact being that no matter how many color, metallic, sparkly versions of ink producing objects I had, my handwriting would never look any prettier. I was writing words in my diary much like the ones I am telling you now. There is nothing you missed beyond what I had for lunch and a few more painful details about my classes that day.
But as much as I dawdled on daily occurrences I could not distract myself from the guilt fluctuating within me that the option of not attending the concert brought. I had remembered very distinctively what I’d written in that letter that had made me feel thus so. But under the very slight probability of him finding the letter, or by any chance ever reading it, how would he ever know? I felt something though, some irrefutable bond in my writing, as if the words were carved in stone. As if I did not go…he would know it. How could I not keep my word? Despite the pain that even his name mustered, how could I forget such a generous person? Even if no one would ever know, or acknowledge my presence…I felt like I had to keep my word.
The end of the week had come at me with quickness beyond my comprehension. It’s funny how when you’re excited about something everything seems to slow take an eternity. But if you’re nervous or scared about something the hours tick away with silent rapidity until the moment of fear is staring at you in the face. When you feel both it’s a freaking paradox.
It was a dreary afternoon. The sun barely peaking through the clouds, throwing shadows ont the water. I drove with the windows tightly sealed; unlike most I hate the smell of the sea. I had his CD hushing a sad song over the rumble of my truck. My fingers twitched at the sound and I clung to the wheel. I was now internally welted by the memory of that sound, unsure I’d ever hear it speaking to me again. It hurt more to think I’d be forgotten, that when I saw him, if I saw him off stage, he would merely glance at me confusedly trying to recall my name. Or look at me with disgust for leaving without a proper goodbye, or even not caring I’d left without a proper goodbye at all?! My innards were a battle zone debating violently how I felt.
A great blasting horn ripped me from my thoughts and I found myself almost swerving off the road. The SUV beside me swerved towards me again, trying to gain control of his car. I changed lanes and yelled at the driver from inside my car, angry I’d almost been hit. The man in the car waved apologetically and I sped away from him, knowing he couldn’t hear my curses. I sighed, already too far ahead of him to honk. I sighed, annoyed. But the moment passed as I glanced at the clock on the dashboard announcing I was later than I meant to be. I sped up, scanning the road for cop cars and hoping I did not practically ram into someone as the driver behind me had.
It took me many stops on the side of the road and many times twisting my map sideways for me to finally locate the theater. The parking lot was vast but not plentiful in spaces, I felt like I was in the college lot again. When I finally squeezed into a space I flipped out my phone to check the time. Then with a great wave of relief I realized my dash clock was an hour off. I wasn’t late at all but extremely early. I was sure to stand awkwardly out in front of the theater and wait. At least I’d have an amazing seat. I shuffled through the dark parking lot, scanning the wired fence for the exit. I considered climbing it, I was wearing jeans anyhow. But then finally the exit appeared near the last stop light I’d seen before entering. The clouds dropped a soft mist on me and I wondered if it would rain. The pungent smell of the sea was carried on the wind and I could hear a distance off, it’s crashing.
I unzipped my green hoodie as I walked, for the air was preliminarily summary. I stared out at the sea, an clear emerald color slamming against the shore. I was faced with the brick walls of a very enormous building. I wondered excitedly if it was the theater. Spotting windows I jumped towards them, pulling on the bricks, making myself tall enough to peer through the lit glass. Wow…really? I thought sarcastically as I looked in at an array of copy machines. It was a Kinkos express. I hopped down turning around the building to run into something very large…and hard. I staggered dizzily, looking up to a see a green metal pole holding a plastic sign that told me ‘Line starts here’. Rubbing the pain out of my forehead, I looked beyond the sign to see in bold black letters that said Dominic Le Vide, 8pm, backlit in fluorescent white.
I stood still on the busy sidewalk, struck by the sound of the statement as I read it in my head. I was obscenely early and I wondered if even he had gotten there yet. And I was suddenly caught by the possibility of meeting him before the show. I shivered. The awkward pain curled inside of me; I’d have to face his reaction to seeing me again. Or worse yet he’d be exposed to the contortion of my reaction to seeing him. Scared as I was, I twirled back around the corner from the sign, leaning against the brick walls of the Kinko’s express. I twisted my head around the corner looking for any sign of him or Heath for that matter and only met the eyes of wary strangers.
Parallel to me, the clouds veiled the horizon, hiding the brilliant colors of the sun set, preventing from me a goodbye to the sweltering day. It just gradually grew darker, blue light falling over the sea side town and eventually fading to black.
I stared out at the dark ocean as the last remnants of day were eliminated. I could barely distinguish the water from the hovering clouds. Then a very tiny but intense flash of light flickered out on the water. I stared in awe, wondering what it could be…but then realized quite foolishly it was probably just some tiny boat tearing along in the water. Though now there were no stars to be seen now…somehow the movement of light reminded me of that one I’d seen on the roof last year. Then, wondered idly, if somehow my wish had come true.
I waited for a long time, leaning against the chilled wall. The clouds I’d seen fog the horizon shifted over me now, dropping a light sprits of rain upon me now and then. But the air still lifted warmly over me so none of these were inconveniences. I stared again toward the ocean, focusing on the waves rather than the muttering of the people passing or the buzz of the tall street lamp beside me.
“Hey you,” I jumped at the sound. “Yeah the show doesn’t start till 8pm you know?” the voice came from behind me and was sarcastically familiar. I turned to see a girl standing near an alley about ten feet back. “Oh, I know.” I said waving to her. She paused staring at me for a moment then stalked towards me. “Hey I know you,” she said turning her head slightly, stopping in front of me. “Oh, haha you’re that chick from L.A. that got screwed over.” She laughed. I blinked, confusedly. “You don’t remember me do you? Come on really?” she said and I really saw her then. She had shoulder length blonde hair and piercing blue eyes framed by annoyed brows. “Oh, uh Cindy?” I said and she rolled her eyes. “Yeah.” She laughed at my memory.
“You look different.” I said trying to smile, looking over her slightly dressier attire. “Yeah my hair grew out a bit, yours did too otherwise you look pretty much the same.” She said nodding all-knowingly. She suddenly busted out laughing. “What?” I wondered self consciously. I tucked my arms around my waste, not leaning against the wall anymore. “Oh nothing, nothing, you just gotta see Heath. He’s inside.” She said thumbing towards the alley. My fear flickered up again. “Oh no that’s ok; I don’t want to bother anyone.” I said rubbing my head. “No…you have to.” She said as if keeping some inside joke from me.
She snagged my wrist, pulling me deeper into the alley I sat at the mouth of. Alleys never did do me any good did they? There was a large truck taking up most of the space there, with yellow light pooling over it. She led me to a wired fence door, unlocking it with a very large ring of keys. The gate rattled as she pulled me inside. I very much did not want to enter. My chest was filled with electric spasms of anxiety. I contemplated clinging to the gate but only foresaw more material for her jokes.
We walked down an outside hall full of greenery and flowers. She opened a very large white door and disappeared. I timidly followed and was encased in the darkness of what I expected to be back stage. I shuffled in realizing I’d lost Cindy. The poor lighting only revealed two or three people chatting on my left. I looked all around trying to find that little blonde head, but then wasn’t sure if I wanted to find her. Rather if I didn’t find her or if she didn’t find me, maybe I would be safe to bolt. With a great stab of panic I realized she could be anywhere. I turned, jolting to my left then right, then feeling something catch on my foot. I flew forward in a great clatter of sound equipment. The people on my left looked over at me, one cocking his head. I heard someone walking over to me as I scrambled, painfully, to get up. “I’m so, so sorry! Sorry, sorry, sorry!” I said pathetically, waving my hands as I stood up. I winced, feeling my elbows and shins tingle with what would later be bruises. When the person did not speak I looked up, brushing my hair from my eyes and stopped dead. Damn you Cindy.
“M…Maria?” a smile lit over his face. “Maria!” he said holding an arm out for a friendly embrace. I was sure my heart had ceased its beating and squirmed to the safety of my stomach.
“Wow! It’s been forever.” He said kindly, happily. Time slowed and his every move magnified. He patted my shoulder in the hug, the way a brother would. I felt his warmth, knowing I’d be holding onto this moment, reminiscing the sweet feeling painfully later. I smiled my best. He remembered me. That was something. The moments were very sterile and white, like staring into a bright light, disorienting.
The year hadn’t done much to him but flatten out his poofed messy hair. After his discovery of a hair straightened he had grown it out a bit longer. I’ll admit I missed the poof. I found him formed a bit older in the face and slightly more rounded at the shoulders. But otherwise his sweet distinct features had barely fazed with time.
“You came all the way up here? I’m surprised this is such a small show.” He said, patting my shoulder again. I stumbled with an answer. “Yeah but I haven’t…this is the first show I’ve heard about in California since…last year so…yeah.” I said shyly. I wondered if he’d noticed any changes in me as we talked. But I could not differentiate his polite behavior from sincere curiosity.
“Yeah we’re here cuz Heath’s cousin just bought part of this theater so we thought we’d kind of celebrate.” He said. “Oh Cindy?” I said, looking around for her. “Yeah.” He said, surprised I’d remembered her. “Oh hey can you hold on a sec? I got something of yours.” He crossed the stage picking up some large black object. I felt awkwardness creep over me as the figures to my left intently watched me. He returned with his guitar case. He opened the beastly thing looking for something. “I got your album.” I told him. “Yeah? Good!” he said without looking up. “I’m happy for you… So…how are things going?” I asked rather vaguely. “Well you know…Oh we are going on tour this summer. That should be pretty fun.” He said half heartedly. And I wasn’t sure why. “Aha!” he said at last pulling something very small and silver out from the bowels of his case. He held it up by the chain; it gleamed at me in the dim light, my heart locket! “Oh! You-! You found it! ” I said in absolute awe. I thought I’d lost it nearly a year ago!” I exclaimed. “Yeah…” he said scratching his head. “Well it’s been kind of a good luck charm. The day I found it was the day we got the record deal, weird huh?” he said smiling. “Oh this means so much to me, you have no idea” I said as he placed the necklace in my palm, the chain coiling around it. He’d kept it…after all this time. A great familiar warmth built inside of me. I can’t believe he’d cared enough to keep it…for a year!
I wrapped the thing immediately around my neck, latching the chain. I felt it familiarly with my thumb almost unlatching it but Dominic then said “Oh,” looking around his shoulder at the people on his left. “Eliza, Lucia come here a sec.” he said rather nervously. His girlfriend Elizabeth skipped over happily, greeting me with energy. But the other did so quiet calmly and cautiously. She smiled though, a very sweet smile. His words penetrated me with shock.
“You remember my sister Elizabeth.” He said patting the girl’s head playfully. For a single moment my entire chest opened up with joy. His…sister? It was his sister…! Only his sister! After all this time! She looked very much the same and more girlish now that I looked at her with a trained eye. “And this is my girlfriend Lucia la Morte’” he said and she smiled shyly. And suddenly as if all at once everything that had lifted inside of me fell back down with a clatter, chained back down again. I swallowed hard and said “What an interesting name.” She was about the same height with rather similar colored hair as I and very fine green eyes. She had sharp facial figures and thin hair that twirled down her back. She had a frame similar to Eliza’s but looked much older. Dominic knew how to pick them alright. I regretted allowing myself to grow so excited, even momentarily.
“Oh yeah, your Italian aren’t you Lucy?” he asked. She nodded flashing her eyes at the ground. She was obviously uncomfortable. I was cruel to reach out my hand “It is nice to meet you.” I said trying to catch her gaze; she could at least look at me. She had everything I wanted at this very moment, she could at least look at me. My slight anger subsided as she looked up and stretched her lips across her cheeks in a lovable manner. “You too,” I recoiled my hand.
Slowly little pieces of the puzzle before me clicked. That night he had been hanging out with her, but met up with his sister later? I wasn’t sure; it had to be something like that. It was the only thing that made sense. Not that I wanted anything to make sense at that moment. Our small talk was dominated by Eliza, her mouth ran on and on quite joyously of the day’s events. She was very fond of plane rides and buses and trams and did so enjoy visiting the coast. I wondered where they lived, quite numbly. The response was not of my own accord but of some instinct inside of me that notified me she required a response. She told me some city close to the California Nevada border, but I had never heard of it. I had never thought actually conversing in a group with Dominic would be painful.
“Oh there you are, God! You get lost so easily. Ah I see you found Dominic.” Cindy said with a sly smile. I felt uncomfortable and remained stoic; I would not satisfy her with a reaction. “So come here, come on I found him.” she said hooking my elbow and nodding to Dominic who seemed confused. I stumbled behind her, thankful to see her for once. “I’ll see you guys later…” I said as turning back at them, Dominic’s expression was frozen in time, as if he had words he wished to still tell me, trailing across his lips. Cindy was muttering incoherently to me then as she dragged me stage right. “Hey, you. Are you listening to me?” she asked, annoyed. “Oh, yeah.” I said automatically, my eyes flitting up to her face. “So can you believe it? Haha he got you so good!” she said laughing with hearty sarcasm. I’d missed it though. “Wait, what, what?” I said stupidly. “Oh come on Mary are you that dense? He lied to you.” She said stopping. She put her hands on her hips as if she were talking to a child. “Who did?” I asked. She rolled her eyes at my naivety. “Heath, Dumb ass.”
I stared up at her quite gravely, for once caught in her web of emotionally enticing behavior. “What?” I asked, subtly relieving my arm from her grip. “God, do you listen at all?” she asked. “The prank, the prank...” She said brushing her hand through her hair. A sinister grin twisted on her lips, much more maniacal than mine when enticed by practical jokes. Worry tickled my temples. “He said the look on your face…was priceless.” She continued “’Oh yeah Dommy’s out with his girl friend, you won’t see him any time soon hehe,’ oh man. I wish I had been there.” She said waving her hand. I was very still. “How is that…funny? No-I mean, how is that a joke? If he was with Lucia, he was with Lucia. Why would that bother me?” I said, folding my arms around my waist uncomfortably again. I didn’t need her rubbing this in right now, her timing was cruel. “Lucia? Are you retarded? They’ve been together for like…two months.” She said smartly. I stared…still confused. Something tugged behind me naval, some instinct telling me not to probe further into the matter. “You really need people to spell things out for you God, good thing you two didn’t end up together anyways.” She rolled her eyes for a fourth time; the movement hurt. Annoyance sparked within me. “He didn’t have a girlfriend then, genius. Heath could see it with the look on your face when you were around him, how you felt. That’s the joke. Oh, it was-” but I didn’t let her finish, breaking away, farther down the hall. She called after me, laughing.
My eyes were hot and wet and my chest swelled with a burning mixture of hot angry gases. My fingers coiled into fists, tensed and white with strain. Oh he was going to get it. My eyes tore at every corner of the room for that familiar flit of golden hair. I squinted shaking my head, trying to see through blurry vision. And there he was, standing among a handful of chuckling people, smiling. I strode toward him with a vehemence I could compare with nothing I’d felt for a long time. I wanted to sock him in the jaw. Hard.
Then he saw me, his smile crumpled as recognition clouded his eyes. I stopped very sharply in front of him, with a loud smack of my heels. The clinking of glasses and soft chatter paused in my arrival. I said nothing at first, just staring into him obscurely, angrily, feeling betrayed. I saw nothing else, unlike Heath who glanced at his friends, raising his eyebrows. He…he chuckled! He actually chuckled. That smile of a long saved victory slithering over his lips.
“Why?” was the one word I pressed against him, like a strike of lightning piercing the clouds. His silence infuriated me, even as the smiled faded. In a very sudden manner I grabbed a fistful of his grey shirt and dragged his large frame away from his amused friends. I was surprised with the strength in which I had mustered as I threw him out the nearest door. He staggered, sour faced now after being roughed up. Oh he was going to get more out of me than that. But as soon as the door behind me smashed into its frame, my voice broke. “Why? Why, why, why would you do that?” I asked, clenching my hands in the air. He crossed his arms. “Oh come off it Shortie, you know I got you, I got you.” He said nodding. My voice was high and squeaking, on the brink of breaking again. “Not, not, not funny! In any way! Running up behind someone to scare them…funny! Ruining someone’s…ruining…” I wasn’t sure what to call it “not FUNNY.” I said bleary eyed now. His countenance softened but he stood firm on his opinion. “Well I thought it was.”
That was it, I socked him. He took it good and hard in the stomach and crumpled over a little bit. “Does Dominic think its funny?” I asked sarcastically, but honestly wanted to know. He sighed and let out a breathy chuckle, rubbing his abdomen. Then he said “He doesn’t know.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “He…he…doesn’t know?” a tightness curled into my stomach. He thought that I just left him? That I just left so rudely with no goodbye? My anger was soft now, soaked in a sad sort of balm. I turned towards the door slowly. I wanted to tell him. He should know the truth. It’s only fair. It’s only fair. But how was I to tell him? How was I to reveal such facts so late in time, after the results have already seeped in?
“Don’t.” Heath said standing up straight again. “Please… you can’t tell him” he said, his face painted in seriousness. All humor had faded from him, like color. “Why? Why would he care?” I said for argument’s sake, a deep flow of betrayal pulsed in my veins for Heath now. Why should I care if revealing the truth hurt him? I didn’t want Dominic to think poorly of me, I wanted him to know, how I felt, how I feel. It’s Heath’s fault, he should have to pay for what he’s done, and he should writhe in the resentment of so true a friend for the pain he’s caused! It’s fair! It’s what’s fair! Anger stirred within my violently. But his face wrinkled a little bit as he said “Because…he’ll hate me for it.” And his words soaked in to my very bones.
“I doubt that.” I said rubbing my eyes, leaning against the door. I was annoyed that he didn’t care that at this moment, I was the one who hated him. “You don’t understand.” He said coming closer to me as if to coax me from the door. “That letter.” He said gravely. I paused. I was completely and utterly still.
“That was your letter, wasn’t it?” he said, his dark eyes creeping into mine. I couldn’t look away though or bring words from my mouth to deny it. A great and sudden leakage of fear was sliding down my chest, pooling in my stomach like sludge. “He found it there, by the piano, just where you left it for him. And you know what?” he said and I feared his voice would break. I shook my head.
“He sat there for hours, holding that piece of paper in his hands. He waited, and waited for you, for you to come back.” He turned away from me rubbing his hand through his hair with agitation. “And you didn’t.” he said accusatorily. “And do you know why? Do you know why you didn’t come back? Do you know why he waited a long painful week with no crapping results? A freaking week! Because of me, Maria, I screwed him over. I screwed my best friend over. Do you have any idea what that feels like?” he said ripping his hands down his face. “Do you know what it was like to see him every day after that, holding onto that damn piece of paper? I tried to find you! I tried, I tried. But I couldn’t. You were…gone.” He said leaning against the wall opposite me and then sliding down to the ground with his hands on his head. Though empathy infected my innards another part of me was still angry, still angry for his accusatory tone when he was the one at fault.
I wanted to rant, loud and long. If he had told Dominic, if had the guts to tell him what he had done. He could have found me. He could have found my sister’s apartment and looked for me. Tears slid down my cheeks, hot and itchy. That damn Heath, how could he have…but I looked at him. His face worn and twisted with regret, how could I add to the load upon his back by telling him he could have found me? How could I increase his pain, if there was nothing I could do about the matter? Tell him that I would never forgive him? I swallowed a great bellow of agitations that built in my throat. I swallowed it like a pill. What was it within me…that still unjustly cared about this old friend?
I slid down to a sitting position too and asked very quietly, very sadly “Did he really wait that long?” watching him very carefully. “He made me extend our freaking gigs so that he could wait here to see if the author would come back.” He said, annoyed. I wondered then, why I should forgive him; I wondered what was so possessed within me that should make me care about him. A beast growled within me, angry and hungry for revenge; a horrible beast. But what, I asked the beast, what would parting two people, so welded together by friendship, even a little bit, do for me? Would it satisfy me to see Dominic angry? To have the truth cleared and raise a veil of awkwardness between us by the knowledge that I still had feelings for him. He was taken; my window of opportunity had been closed long ago. There was no point in throwing rocks through it. The beast still roared though, with a hunger I could not satiate. What would Dominic say to me if I asked him, objectively, what to do?
I stared at Heath, who angrily kicked away some nearby rock. I had never seen that tan face contorted in such a venomous manner. I hated feeling so much disdain towards a friend connected with such happy memories, it depressed me. Dominic probably would give me some mildly profound answer. “God would want you to forgive him. Because for all the sinful things you have done, Maria, God forgives you.” I thought to myself quietly, at how genuinely he would speak this “And by His example He wants you to forgive others as well.” He would add. I’d been going back to church lately and they tell me that forgiveness has to be unselfish and whole hearted…with no strings attached you could say. You can’t tell someone you will forgive them if they won’t hurt you again. There can’t be conditions. I forgive you, is I forgive you.
Dominic had around him now, a web spindled of happiness. Romantic, family and friendly relationships and the building success of his career entwined around him in a most pleasing manner. I would not want to pull any tears in this delicate pattern. It will only cause trouble for him later when he has to mend them again. I felt like someone or something was looking out for him, even in my decisions now. And I was thankful. I was thankful he was, as far as I knew, happy.
I smiled sadly then, sucking in a shaky breath of salty air. A great realization clouded over me, warming my cold skin. There was a grand possibility; a grand possibility that Dominic knew it was me. That by some random sweltering chance, he had liked me back. If he was waiting for me…if I’d known to return, it would have been lovely. I would have been so happy that day, so happy. If I’d had confidence in myself and not accepted Heath’s words…so easily, maybe in the end it was my own fault.
“Where are you going?” Heath said with alarm as I stood. I was quite calm now, brushing off the sand that littered my jeans. He rubbed his hand through his hair again, though less agitated.
“To listen, inside.” I told him shortly. “You’re…you’re not going to say anything?” he asked, rather surprised. “What’s the point” I replied, shrugging. My voice was low and monotonous, I tried to brighten it. “I’m going to go listen inside now; just like I will be at every concert, here in Cali.” I said wandering away from the confused blonde. I’d keep the promise I’d made in my letter, even if it meant nothing to Dominic at this point.
“You didn’t answer me, dam it.” He said glaring. I paused and looked back at him, with the last of my venom percolating in my eyes. “I’m not going to say anything. But I hope, Heath, someday you will.” I said quite truthfully. And my poisonous anger faded at the thought, of him, earnestly telling Dominic what he’d done, as I walked away.
The world seemed slightly altered as I walked. The theater somewhat more oddly shaped and vaster than before; streams of light curled up in every direction, like fire. The clusters of people around me as I entered, were not many, but one continuously moving mass. Like a monster that threatened to eat me up. As I wandered around for my seat, I felt the optimism for what had occurred wobble precariously at the mouth of some deep abyss. I shivered and swayed at the edge of this great sadness and it would be so easy to fall in. I was quite unsure if I could handle seeing him again, hearing him again. My throat tightened and instinctively I felt for it but instead let my hand fumble with my necklace.
I found my plush red velvet seat, G18, just as the lights dimmed. I considered again that maybe; maybe he’d known it was me. But doubt seemed to pollute the flowery thoughts I tried to conjure within me; that somehow he had waited for me. But then maybe…he could have waited for someone else, Heath never said he’d mentioned my name…directly. Feelings of my unheard voice closed around me like a cage. I could accept what could have been but it hurt more knowing…he didn’t know it was me. That he imagined a different girl showing up at the theater exit that week. My thoughts drifted to that fine eyed girl… I thought idly how my rattled breaths were filled with the same sickeningly salty air as hers.
A very professional sounding male voice announced Dominic’s name and I was sure he would appear on stage at any moment. I snapped my little locket open and closed, open and closed, nervously; when a little something slipped out of it and dropped into my lap. It was a very tiny white square of paper, folded thrice. Printed upon which was very careful letters which said “Maria, I am so glad to of met you,” followed by the name of whom that made my rib cage swell with deep content breath. I’d smiled to myself a smile I never would again; a smile of triumph and a smile of defeat. This reformulation of my own words…he’d had to of known.
I’d felt very calm as the spotlight burst before me across the dark stage. I snapped the note back inside my locket; to remind me of how happy this moment in time made me. How happy I was and somehow would never be.
His voice to me now, did not have the same fathomable affect as it had a year ago. It was different now, and yet just as lovely. Before it was a real, living in the air before me, but now it was just the sound of a sweet memory.
And to this very day I find it very ironic his choice of song that started out that concert. The familiar verse echoed throughout the gigantic hall “Never say never…” and for the first time I took in the full meaning of his words.