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Like Any Other
She stared blankly into the mirror, placing a spare strand of hair behind her ear. The reflection she saw was not quite the girl she remembered.
Her look was vacant yet full of thought. Her eyes were dim yet sparkling. Her skin was pale yet lively. She was a congregation of oxymorons, a paradox in itself.
Screams heard from downstairs, the clang of pots and pans, the shatters of broken glass…yet still her gaze remained, fixed and unfazed. Her parents problems were not her own.
Her shadow lay behind her, a cold remember of all things gone wrong.
It was hard to believe it had only been a few months ago. Could a person’s life really change that much in so little time? She felt as if she was a tree, once blossoming but suddenly pulled out by its roots. There had been no warning. He had told her he was leaving, but she was not aware of how literally he meant it.
It was a cold September day, with a wind so harsh one would have thought it was winter. They had sat on her porch, like any other afternoon. That was just how it was at first, like any other... She sat with him, smiling and giggling, transfixed by his gaze. But as the hours went on the night grew darker, and so did his words.
She knew she had hurt him. She would do anything to take back those moments- that drunken night, the sweaty sheets, the bitter lies.
He began to speak of his mother, his mother who had recently died. He began to speak of the boys at school, who would never understand his intelligent, artistic soul and ridiculed him to the very end. And then, he began to speak of love: unrequited love. How much it hurts to love someone for so many months and have them ignore you, blatantly, never showing an ounce of love in return.
Her guiltiness overcame her. She knew he was talking about the time before she realized that she loved him in return. It had taken her so long, and why she did not understand. It was clear to her now, sitting on her mother’s porch, that he was by far the most important person in her life and would remain so until the day she died.
His eyes were glistening now, with a sea of newly formed tears. She reached out to touch his cheek, but he gently pushed her hand away.
“It takes a lot out of you” he said. “Watching someone that doesn’t love you in return, conversing with people that honestly couldn’t give a f***, losing the one person that thinks something of you…”
She began to apologize, but he wouldn’t have it. He understood she had not meant to hurt him, but as he put it, “So many things have happened to me. I hope you understand that I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t pretend to be happy when I’m not.”
“I’m leaving” he said. And leave he did.
For 27 hours, she took his words as a mere breakup. A heart-wrenching, tear filled, horrendous breakup, but a breakup at that. It was only when she received the phone call from the local police station that she realized the severity of his words.
Gone. That’s all she could think of while looking at her reflection. He was gone and yet she was here. Words could not describe how much she wanted to changed that.