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She stepped out onto the busy streets, inhaling deeply. She barely glanced around as she took one shaky step toward the road that gradually steadied with confidence.
“Watch it,” one business woman snapped, legs flying across the pavement and hand pressed to her ear, phone in hand.
She smiled and took another step. Step, Breathe, Step, Breathe, Step, Breathe. Only feet ahead, the promising road lay.
The buzzing of the incoming traffic welcomed her like an old friend. In one fluid motion, she slid off her coat and dropped it onto the sidewalk, revealing a flowing white dress underneath. With what she supposed was her final breath, she took three steps into the heavily trafficked road, plunging into the center of what seemed like her only future.
She only had eyes for the barricade of cars hurtling toward her. She didn’t even hear the witnesses as the police officer on duty screamed for her to get out of the way. Too late. She took in her surroundings one more time and closed her eyes. Step, Bre-. The pain hit her too quickly for her to handle, and the darkness engulfed her as she faintly heard the sirens blaring.
It was some time- or no time at all- before her thoughts came back to her. Or were they her thoughts? All the people she’d hurt, all the places she’d deserted, all the pain she’d gone through, all of it swirled along in the darkness until she could see it no longer. Was she dead, or being brought back to life?
She realized was in her body just as soon. And immediately after that discovery, she wanted to move it. Her eyes fluttered open, but the first thing she experienced was the pain.
The second thing she saw was the pair of warm brown eyes gazing at her, filled with mixed feelings of sorrow and hurt.
“Olivia,” he whispered. She tried to turn away, but the pain returned and she gasped. “Olivia, I’m so sorry.”
She stared at him wordlessly, a glistening tear trailing down her cheek. “You left.”
He stared down. “I know.”
“It killed me.” He glanced at her broken form and held back the smile that would have graced his lips had it been any other situation. She saw recognized the irony as well, but did not acknowledge it as her eyes followed him, waiting for his reply.
He finally looked up. “I was such an idiot.” His voice cracked. “I’m so sorry, Olivia. Please…”
“You did not spare me,” she said quietly, avoiding his gaze. “Even when I knelt before you and begged for your forgiveness. I’m sorry.”
He took a wavering step towards the door. “I understand. Your family is waiting for you; I will leave you.” He pulled open the door so swiftly that Olivia almost didn’t see his tear. But it was still there, glittering on the tips of his lashes, so small and fragile as it threatened to spill and reveal itself for all to see.
And even when Olivia’s family filed in, gasping over her broken form, her gaze never left him, following diligently as he hurried past the glass window, past the front desk and out the door. And once again, she had to tell herself that this time, he was really gone.