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Our Goodbye Is Nothing Special
“And you'll get over it after a while. Eventually you'll stop thinking about me. It's the truth. And then you'll have someone else and we'll meet up again randomly and we'll be friends.”
He paused to look at me. My eyes weren't red and blinded by expectant tears. My trembling hands were buried in the pockets of my jacket. He didn't see them. His face was probing and wide; he felt out for my agony. I should've let him see it. I was not a child.
“I'm fine.” I was no longer assuring him, I'd stopped assuring myself even before that. I really needed to sit down.
“Are you– you look pale, can we sit?”
He wasn't asking my permission. He grabbed my hand; I flinched. We sat opposite each other on my porch as the sky began to cry. Doing what I couldn't muster the energy to. Breathing was a task now. The very thought tempted me to stop.
“I'm fine.” Not sure why I said it that time; I wasn't really following the conversation. What he said now held little relevance in the rest of my life.
“Yeah, you've been saying that. Kate, just because we're not together does not mean that we suddenly can't be friends at all. I'm just gonna be gone for a while, college isn't forever,” He paused, “neither is high school.”
I said many things to him. Nothing angry, I wasn't angry. I was just very unprepared for something I'd been preparing for, for months now. I said everything, but with no words. After a moment he spoke again. His voice was cradling, like a firefighter's; trying to soothe a little girl as her house went up in flames. I had not said anything then. Imagine that, I forgot how to talk.
“You know that don't you?”
He was very disturbed, this was not how we said I would handle it. What a foolish thing to plan. I was not a child. The tears came wildly and pelted my face. We didn't move; soon we were soaked. By then I was slipping in and out. I wanted him to leave then, he wouldn't. Just sitting opposite me was causing my stomach to convulse. I pictured him standing, torturing me with a brush of his lips on my cheek or my forehead before leaving my life.
It was at that moment, that I very physically exploded.
My jaw unclenched and I curled my trembling fingers into fists and threw them at his chest. I wasn't sobbing. I didn't feel tears. It was the sky that cried for me. I was not a child. I had no right to cry.
He fought everything inside him. He shouldn't have. He should have taken it like I did. He should have sat there and allowed me to dig my knuckles further and further into his chest. But he was weak like me. Neither of us could take it.
The pounding subsided when my arms grew sore and his loose grip around my wrists overpowered the will I had to continue.
“Don't stop.” He whispered.
My head shot up in fury. “What?” It came out in a confused, choked whisper. I hated myself. I was not a child.
“Nothing.” He paused and looked up, the tears greeted him too as the clouds rung out their agony above us. “What can I do? I don't know what I'm supposed to do.”
“Nothing.” He had asked the sky but I answered for him.
“You've done what you were supposed to do. Now you can go”
“I–” His voice cut off as he gripped my arm. I didn't watch his eyes as they looked at my lips, as they began to forget.
“I'm sorry.” It wasn't what he'd wanted to say. It was was his obligation to apologize; though he'd never done anything to hurt me. Even now. I was doing this to myself. He was sorry because he couldn't stop time, he was sorry he couldn't take me with him to this next part of his life. He was sorry he had to leave me behind.
He was standing. He chose my forehead and he touched me for the last time. “So sorry,”
The gap widened, he waited. My nerves were dead, my head was numb, I couldn't remember what he was saying. I reminded myself he was backing away. So weak I thought, I wasn't even able to tell him. Never could I speak what was inside of me to him. After he was gone I would sit crumpled, I could picture the time between then and now growing very close. After he was gone I would think of all those witty one liners that would've stay with him forever. Refusing to let him forget me. I would think of how to place my hand and tilt my head. I would think of how I should've let one single tear fall down my cheek. I would build up my regret and let it destroy me. He would think clearly, he would be calm, he was stronger. I stopped living in my future. I jumped back.
He was slowly dragging himself away, waiting for something he didn't expect. I knew I would stand and watch him go. I was not a child. I was not like the girl in the movie either, I wasn't her at all. This wasn't a tragic love story. This was high school. And I would watch him go saying nothing witty, producing no tears and leaving him with a simple name he'd forget one day. When he really fell in love.
I called out his name. What? No. He turned. Yes, I had. His face was not calm, it was horrific. Like mine.
“I'm not.” When I spoke my steady voice surprised me. It didn't shake like the hands that had retreated back into my pockets. Was I smiling? He blinked, we were very similar now.
“I'm not Sorry.”
He looked at me with those beautifully exhausted blue eyes and smiled brokenly; I ran into his arms. He held me tight and I knew he loved me.
I didn't run into his arms. I did however, still know that he had loved me.