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"Goodbye," he said and walked away and left. A single tear fell down my cheek as he turned his back, leaving me for the last time. I suppose this would be a good thing, once a door closes, a new one opens. But at the same time it seemed as if the sadness that I was feeling would drown me. I wiped the tear away and willed myself to quit crying, but the tears flowed more evenly now. This would be the last time I would see him. These past years have felt like home and are cherished ones. I so desperately wished that it didn’t have to end this way. Neither of us had wanted to. My parting words hadn’t been up to par, but I hoped they were effective.
“James, now don’t you drink yourself to death." I told him as I wrapped my arms around his neck and he kissed my forehead for the last time.
“Well, my darling, I’m afraid I can’t keep that promise or even try my best." I smiled knowing he was teasing me, but was painfully serious at the same time. He brushed the hair from my face and all emotion left his face.
I watched him pull out of my driveway, put a small envelope in my mailbox, and quickly drive away. I sat down on my doorstep and cried with my head between my knees. I didn’t quiet myself, or even look up when I heard a neighbor open a front door and walk outside. I could hear jingling keys and laughter. This only made me more upset and I watched my tears puddle on the concrete steps leading to the door. I heard quiet whispering and I guessed the neighbors had discovered me. They thought nothing more of it and I heard their car start, leaving me in whatever state I was in.
I was angry, and bitter. I was broken, and torn. I felt betrayed and stepped on. I felt as if I’d never be happy again. It felt like James had sucked out everything that made me human with that one last kiss, before he left me with no one to turn to. I felt so alone.
I guessed several hours had passed because the sun had begun to set and the weather had cooled down. I even heard the neighbors arrive home. I decided it would probably be best if I dragged myself inside. I was hungry, but had no appetite. I wasn’t tired, but I laid down anyway. I pulled the covers over my head and shut my eyes. They itched a bit and I knew without looking that they were red and swollen. I ended up falling asleep.
I woke an hour or so later, kicking and screaming and crying. I got up and ran into the living room looking for James, he was the only one who could comfort me. I expected him to be lying on the couch reading, but he wasn’t. I went outside to look for him only to find his car was gone and it all came rushing back. Everything about our goodbye. I remembered what he said to me and again I was overcome with sadness and anger. I kept asking myself all of these questions I had no answers for.
I remembered the letter he left in the mailbox and went immediately for it. I tore it open the second I got my shaking fingers around it. James’ blocky cursive showed on all sides of the tiny slip of paper.
My Dearest Dakota,
Don’t you ever thing for a moment that I don’t love you. I always will. You were the very first person I ever loved. The only person in my life who knew everything, and loved me for it. When I was with you, I never had to pretend to be something I wasn’t or wish that I was somewhere else. Kota, baby, whenever I was without you, I wondered what you were doing and if you were thinking of me. I’m looking to the sky to count the stars while I’m writing this, and I wonder if you see them where you are. I remember lying underneath the stars with you on the beach. It was the first time I told you that I loved you, and to this day I have not witnessed a more beautiful moment than the one in which you said you loved me too. I’ll never love anyone the way I love you, and I’ll never be okay with the way this ended. I’m going to miss everything about you. The talks over hot coffee every morning. Cuddling by the campfire with hot chocolate in our favorite decorated mugs. Calming you down after getting entirely too drunk on New Year’s. The one night we slept in a hammock I set up in the woods and getting rained on. Fireworks together for years after years on the fourth of July. The first time you kissed me.
I will always remember every moment I ever spent with you. And while you sleep alone tonight, just know I’ll be up, until the morning light shines through, not wanting to sleep because I could never deal with the disappointment of not waking up to your beautiful sleeping face. I’m going to miss you, Dakota. I’m going to miss you more than you know. I already miss you and you haven’t even read this letter that I regret having to write. I hope one day I’ll come back around and you’ll be happy again. You’ll be all happy and smiley without me. And as much as I would love to be the reason for that smile on your face, I can’t lie to myself or you anymore. It’s not fair. And I’m doing what’s best for the both of us, even though it may not seem like it now.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened."
I’ll never forget you,
"I love you, too." I said aloud after reading his letter. I pulled my phone out and called him, desperate for answers. The operator told me the line had been permanently disconnected. I wonder if he knows, I’ll never be able to be happy without him.