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The Way Things Used to Be
I knocked at the door. 1, 2, 3, 4… I counted. I didn’t hear the footsteps I usually heard when I knocked on your door at 2 in the morning. The way you dragged your feet drove me crazy. I stuffed my hands in my pocket after knocking once more. I was ready to turn away. I was scared to see you. Had you changed? Did you still have the freckle on your cheek, shaped like a football? Did you have a girlfriend? At last I heard you unlocking the bolts on the door. It was a sign. Your guard was up. I know why.
I remember it all like it was this morning. I walked over to your apartment and you had made a pancake breakfast for me. I had smiled because you always knew I was a sucker for blueberry pancakes.
“Hi, sweetie,” you chimed as I walked through the door. I wrapped my hands around your waist, gave you a hug and a kiss as you spun me in a circle before setting me down. It was our three year anniversary. As we sat down, you noticed I was happy once again.
“What?” I laughed.
“You always make me happy.” You smiled and talked about your college life and I sat listened, smiling, laughing, and having a good time. And something occurred to me that day.
I broke this news with you at the end our day. I had fallen asleep on your couch and had been woken up by the sound of the sirens.
“I need to tell you something.” I sat up.
“Yeah—what—is—it?” You said in between kissing me.
“Stop that!” I yelled. Your eyes looked hurt.
“What is it, babe?”
“I don’t know if I’m in love with you anymore.” You sat back, in astonishment. And with that, I grabbed my coat and left you sitting on the couch confused. I shut the door behind me tight and I heard you locking the bolts.
I looked up to see you in the doorway. How I remember those days. You invited me in. That’s good, I thought. I unzipped my jacket and peeled my gloves off my numb fingers. You walked into the kitchen differently then how you used to. ‘Who are you?’ I yelled inside. ‘I don’t even know you anymore!’
“Hi,” I muttered. I sat down on your couch. Memories were woven into the fibers of the cloth. The time you bought Chinese food and we spent the night in, watching TV and playing Apples to Apples on my birthday. When you taught me how to play guitar and read sheet music. When I told you my big news of college and how you swept me off my feet. I was so excited to tell you that I was accepted at Julliard. You couldn’t believe it. The look of excitement on your face was stuck in my brain forever.
“Hi,” you replied. You were on the opposite side of the room. You didn’t want to sit near me even. When you told me I looked pretty when I spent the whole day teaching you how to clean so when your mom visited that afternoon, she would be impressed. The day I revealed to you I write poems and songs and stories.
“I came to apologize,” I started. When we walked through Central Park and how I clung to you in fear of losing you.
“For…?” You trailed.
“Stepping in front of the truck,” I looked away. You got down on the floor over to where the couch was. You patted the floor next to you, an indication for my presence at the exact spot. I slid off the couch and onto the floor as a tear fell from my eye. You wiped it away with your thumb.
“Why on earth would you ever say that?” I looked up to those big blue eyes, full of concern and love.
“If I would have just been hit, I wouldn’t be here crying to you today. I could be injured and I would be fine. You know how I am with injuries.” I sobbed on your shoulder.
“You would have been dead. The truck almost killed me and I weigh twice as much as you do.”
“You were in surgery for two months. You didn’t even go to school your junior year. You were too busy recovering to think about school.” I had this sudden anger towards him.
“Oh well. You can’t change the past, and even if you could, I wouldn’t allow you to prevent the accident. Because this accident made me meet you. If it wasn’t for your stupidity to not look before crossing the street, I wouldn’t have met this beautiful, smart, loving woman I have the honor of knowing.” I smiled. “So why did you really come,” he asked, “at two in the morning?”
“Because I can’t stand the thought of knowing everything we once had could be gone because I wasn’t sure what I wanted.” That stunned him a little bit. “I see it all know that you’re gone. The only thing I want is you.” He leaned in and kissed me.
“Did you every stop loving me, after all those years?” I asked.
“Never once did I stop loving you, even after we broke up. I could never find anyone as special as you are.” I kissed him and with that I got up and ran out that door, laughing as he ran up from behind and picked me up. We ran through Central Park, laughing until our stomachs hurt, the way things used to be.