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”Where are we going?” Minnette could hardly sit still in the passenger seat. Her face was painted with excitement.
Her boyfriend seemed quite the opposite as he drove on.
“You’ll see,” he said annoyed and somewhat torn between thoughts.
An awkward silence followed. Thoughts danced wildly in Minnette’s head. Ever since the relationship started between Jeremy Toucan and Minnette Dawes, there were few problems, and fights were scarce. Now there turning point neared. She knew it. That’s what the surprise was all about! He was going to do something special…something out of the ordinary. He was going to strengthen the relationship somehow. But why was he so serious…so…occupied. He hardly spoke on the way to wherever it was they were going. Oh well, he was probably just thinking about how he’s going to make the surprise worthwhile.
At twenty-two, when Minnette first brought Jeremy home for approval, her parents saw past the ‘prince charming’ with the years of experience under their belts. And they advised her not to go through with the relationship. Too proud to admit it, she ignored her parents’ warning and went through two years of all sorts of emotions. But this was the day to prove them wrong. Still, the feeling in the back of her head that something was slightly wrong did not abandon her just yet.
“This isn’t what you think,” he finally said plain and cold.
“Is something wrong, Jeremy?” I ventured.
He answered by gazing out the window. His thoughts journeyed to when they first meet two years ago. Her smile was so brilliant…blinding with happiness. Minnette’s dark eyes saw him through to the core. There was no hiding place from her piercing gaze. She was smart, beautiful, and always caring. Her family even treated him with kindness even when they disapproved of him. But, he wasn’t ready. He wasn’t ready to take the next step of commitment. Everyone expected them to get married; but they never were officially engaged.
The car slowed to a stop.
“What’s this?” Minnette said unbuckling her seat belt. The spray of the sea warmed their faces after an hour of the cool AC.
“The beach,” once again his remarks were as cold as the bottom of the ocean.
He escorted her to a near-by bench. Small clusters of people roamed the shore minding their business. The sun set low, casting and orange glow wherever it sent its rays. Minnette’s heart raced with joy! She knew what was coming. He was going to propose! All the pieces fit together. The sunset, the surprise, the occupied looks. Her dreams were about to come true. Once they settle on the bench, she waited. She looked on his orange-lit face with his eyes sparkling like the sea. The waves crashed silently in the background as if they were eavesdropping on the young love they’ve seen so many times.
He began slowly, “This isn’t going to work.”
Minnette was too baffled to comprehend and almost laughed, “What?”
“Our relationship…it can’t go on.”
“But,” tears swelled in her once happy eyes. Her shoulders dropped, “I thought—“
“I know what you thought, and what everybody else thought. I just can’t do it.”
“But we’ve been together for two years and three months and thirteen days,” tears rolled uncontrollably down her cheeks.
“I know. And today it ends,” compassionless, he stood; ready to abandon the woman who put her whole heart into him.
The waves seemed to crash more fiercely than before, and the sun beat down on her face like a hammer…it seemed like the whole world was a harsh and cruel place after all.
Anger replaced her grief, “Then why did you bring me all the way out here! You could’ve saved me the time and trouble! Here I thought you really loved me! You wasted my time, and my emotions,” she stood up face to face with hurt in her inescapable eyes, “You weren’t man enough for the job, were you? Too cowardly to marry me, to have commitment!! That’s what it all comes down to!”
Her fury was impossible to avoid, “I brought you out here because I have some things to do. I do love you, but—“
“Save it! You’ve wasted enough of my time. How am I supposed to get home anyway?”
“I…I don’t know, baby,” the sand crunched beneath his feet as he walked away—cold and heartless.
Heart broken, Minnette’s knees collapsed and she plopped on the empty bench, weakened from the heart break. She cried softly, and uncontrollably. She was deceived by someone she cared about. Used by him just so he could look good with a girl by his side that was too naive to realize it. Her parents were right. How could she face them now? What would they say? They tried to save her from years of misery, but her pride wouldn’t yield. Minnette looked up and saw the hazy image of Jeremy meeting up with friends several yards away. Fresh tears overflowed with the feeling of betrayal, and abandonment.
Small rays still beamed over the wrinkly water touching her once smiling face. All she could do was sit—sit and think of what to do next. The thought of how to get home from there was still a problem to be solved. She didn’t care. Her heart was broken, and would take what would seem a lifetime to heal.
Footsteps from the distance neared and finally stopped close the bench where she sat. The eyes of a deeply wounded woman looked up to find a man looking down on her with such compassion that maybe even her father would have for his little girl. After taking a break from jogging on the beach, a young man saw the whole scene. From a distance he watched and was moved to see such hurt in someone. He tried his best to help ease her pain.
“Looks like you need someone to talk to,” he offered with a warm smile that thawed the icy crystals left behind from Jeremy.