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Those Three Words

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“I love you.”

Silence.

“I have to go.”

At 80 miles an hour, his words kept repeating over and over in my head. He said he loved me. He loved me. Oh, god.

I thought back to when we first met. A high school gym class turned embarrassing moment turned out okay. His spike in volleyball collided with my head. As he walked me to the nurse’s office, he asked me about myself. “To make sure I didn’t have a brain injury”, he claimed. He even waited to walk me back to class and asked for my number.

We were “textually active” for a few weeks before we went to a concert. He bought me the tickets for my birthday. I was scared he would ask me to be his girlfriend, but it never happened. Not once in these past nine months has the topic of becoming “official” come up. We don’t see anyone else and we hangout on a regular basis, but it’s ok. I like it like that.

And now he’s gone and ruined it by saying that four-letter word. Don’t get me wrong I’m not opposed to all four-letter words. In fact I like and use many four-letter words several times a day. But not that one. Never that one.

It’s not that I’m scared of love…I’m terrified. In my experience love never works. You see, when someone says those words it’s an invisible promise. You’ve taken the other person’s heart and you promise to hold it and keep it safe. Yet most times the heart winds up on the ground trampled and crushed; exactly how you feel after heartbreak. Some argue that there are exceptions and that some couples live happily ever after. In my experience everybody leaves. There is no happily ever after.

Still speeding down the freeway, I picture the exact moment he said those three words to me. We were still catching our breaths, tangled in the sheets, when he wrapped his arms around me. His face was so open and earnest that I couldn’t form any words. As the silence grew his face fell and he let me go. He gave me one more chance, but in his heart he knew. In a flash I had gathered up my clothes and ran out the door, still putting my shirt on as I opened my car door. He stood at the door as he always did when I left, but I didn’t look back for fear of what his face would say. For fear I’d cry.

And now I’m going back. I park and get out, an envelope in my hand. It’s a letter. I place it on the front step and walk back to my car. I turn the corner, just as he gets home from work. I watch him out my window. He looks terrible, beaten down and miserable. It’s all my fault.

“I’m sorry.”

I step on the gas and drive away.





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