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I can see the summer sunset from this side of La Bahia. The colorful colonial Spanish buildings are surrounding me and my bare feet are against the pounding heat of the adoquines. Why am I barefoot? I don't know. It is one of the many things I do when I feel like it. Today, I feel like it. My stomach turns at the prospect of what I have to do right now. I turn around and lean against one of the walls painted with a particularly cheerful yellow. I put on my sandals and settle to take as long as I can, delay the moment if I can. I walk in the direction of El Paseo de La Princesa, seeing the people pass me by. I note that some are joyful, others sad, others plain indifferent. I wonder if they can see me and tell what I'm feeling. Can they detect the turning of my stomach? The way I bite my lips in the corner, my peculiar sign of nervousness? I hope that they do. I hope that someone does and stops me. But no one notices.
The sun is beating down hard and I have to put my hand in my forehead to shield my eyes. I squint and try to make of the figures in the distance. I can the people...looking.
Finally, the familiar silhouette appears in my view. A tall manly shape unmistakable to me. I hear my heart beat fast against my already sweating chest. I wipe what I can of the sweat off with my hand. I get nearer. It's him, I confirm. He is sitting on the stones right in front of La Puerta De San Juan. His expression is blank, although he tries to smile when I get closer. He knows what's coming. We both know.
I am grateful for the shade of the clouds at that moment. I unwrinkle my forehead and manage a decent smile. Now I'm so close I can smell him. I am tempted to hug him and kiss him at that moment but I know I can't.
"Entonces?" So? he says in Spanish.
"Entonces," I respond awkwardly. There is a minute of silent which digs hard into my already hurting heart, creating a huge cavity.
"We need to talk," I say quickly (although I say it in Spanish).
"I know," he responds using Spanish, the language we have in common, our mother. Both of us studied out there in the U.S. but neither of us have forgotten our roots in Puerto Rico. I divert my gaze towards farther down the walk alongside the bay. I see a couple, happily holding hands while the man talks excitedly; the woman nods every now and then.
"How does this happen? This breaking up stuff? Yo no se." I don't know, I said. Not completely true. I have broken up with guys before. It has never been so hard. I knew them well but I never thought about them getting to know me. It's when they were asking to much that I pulled away. A simple one-sentence explanation was usually enough. But not with this one.
This one, or Miguel, is different. I found myself late at night revealing what was buried within me. Stuff I never had told anyone. Some stuff, like my writing when I showed him, reavealed themselves without my consent. Sometimes, he discovered things about me that I myself hadn't known. That is why Miguel is so hard to break up with. We had shared a lot together but then...
Then it became too much for me. I got scared and lied. Left things unsaid. Now, here is how I pay for it: losing the guy who truly understands me.
"Then we do it fast. Mejor, better?" He says. I nod.
"Pues asi se acaba. Terminamos." Well, this is how it ends, we're finished, I say because I can't wait any longer. No, I don't want him gone any faster but the tears are starting to spring and I can't let him see me. It would be just one more thing of me he takes without me letting him.
"Wait. But I want to say something," he says when I turn away, stopping me.
"Que?" What? What can he possibly want?
"As hard as you may try to keep me at bay, I know that those tears aren't because you're happy. I know you, Ale, I know that you're scared. I love you and, despite everything, I don't think I will ever stop loving you. So, here it is. Here, you have me. You can take me, Ale, because I don't want me without you."
By now, the tears are flowing like a river out of my eyes. And he knows and I know that it's true. I look at his deep brown eyes. It starts at my toes, slowly creeping like ants into my legs, my stomach, and chest when I say, "Right," and the feeling overtakes me and I crash into him, like a car collision. My lips finding his, once again.