Too Late

May 23, 2011

Kathy’s been waiting for him, for seven years. But tomorrow’s senior prom, and she’s not going with him—Tyler. She’s not going with her boyfriend, Eric, of two years, but he broke up with her. But it was for the best, he knew who Kathy was waiting for. But that doesn’t change anything. Tyler is still going with Cassidy Klein. Tyler still thinks of me as nothing more than his best friend. Tyler still thinks that I’m still the seven year old who he made mud pies with.
And for years, Kathy waited. She waited for the moment when Tyler would throw hundreds of little pebbles at her window at 2:00 AM. She waited for the moment when Tyler would say, “Kathy Gilbert, I’ve been in love with you for the past seven years.” She waited for the moment where Tyler would come around on his White Horse and save the day.
But, of course, the moment never came.
She looks into her closet; the pale blue dress haunts her. It’s a reminder of what never will happen. She bought the dress with Tyler. She wanted to get a dress she knew he loved. And then maybe, a small part of her hoped he would realize it wasn’t the dress he loved, but the girl in it. She thinks of the hair appointment my mom set up months in advance for tomorrow. But, she called the salon and cancelled on them. It just wasn’t fair to the girl who really had a reason to go. I look at the side of my bed, and see the shoe box resting against the night stand. Kathy traces the smooth box with the tip of her toe and kicks open the box. The silver heels mockingly shine in the dim lights of her room. A tear trickles down her cheek as she lightly kicks the box under her bed.
She lightly lays her head down against her pillow, the teardrop grazing down her eye, into her hair. Kathy thinks of the day tomorrow was supposed to be; the day that would make the past seven years worth it.
The tears start to come faster now; just rushing down her face. As old tears dry, new tears spill over them.
Interrupting the sniffling is her phone. She looks at the caller ID. It’s Tyler. She wipes her tear-stained face and clears her throat. I hit answer, and clear my throat.
“Hello?” She says into the phone.
“Kathy?” Tyler asks into the phone. “I just broke up with Cassidy.”
But Kathy frowns. She doesn’t feel the satisfaction she thought she would feel when this day would come.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Kathy forces out of her mouth. She sits up and looks out the window to his room. His back is faced towards her; she can’t read his expression. She wedges the phone between her shoulder and cheek and wraps her blanket around herself. She feels safe, like her blanket is protecting her from Tyler’s words.
“No it’s fine. But I did it because there was someone else I wanted to be with,” the words tumble out of Tyler’s mouth. Do I really need this? Now? Kathy wonders.
“Okay? Do what you gotta do,” Kathy’s voice trembles; her finger hovers over the end button. She offers him advice like any best friend would, “Call her and ask her to go to prom.”

“Kathy, will you go to prom with me?” The words seem to be zooming out of his mouth now.
“What?” Kathy sucks her breath in, and chews her lip. She runs her hand her hair and tries to single-handily squeeze her throbbing head. The day she’s been waiting for since she was eleven . . . .
“Maddie, I just realized how much I’ve been in love with you and how you’re the best and how I love every moment we’re together. But I’m scared I figured this out too late. So . . . . Will you go to prom with me?”He’s babbling now.
Kathy closes her eyes. She’s waited for more than seven years. He realizes this, what, seven minutes ago, and that’s it? No years of frustration for him? He doesn’t have to put up with listening to me talk about Eric for hours on end? None of that anxiety over what will happen between us tomorrow?
“Hey?” Kathy asks quietly. Kathy lets the blanket fall from around herself.
“Yeah?” He answers eagerly. Kathy pauses and thinks about what she’s about to throw away: the Prince Charming that every girl only dreams of.
“You are too late. I’m sorry, but I’m not going with you. I just can’t,” Kathy whispers into the phone. She hangs up and feels the tears washing her face. She curls up on the bed, once again wrapping the blanket around herself, sobbing softly to herself.

The author's comments:
I tried to go for a non-cliched ending and this is what I came up with!

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