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I shoved my hands in my pockets and continued walking home, shoulders hunched. It had gone from a bad day to worse, and I was honestly keeping myself together in pieces. I was a puzzle, and even the smallest tremor was going to be the reason behind my breaking into hundreds of pieces. But what else was I going to do? Falling apart wasn't an option. Not after that afternoon, anyway.
It was one breakdown per week for me, and nothing more.
But then I saw him. He was half a block away, one guy on either side on him. He stood out, as he always did with his height and light blond hair.
I felt my eyes widen in surprise, but my body had slipped into panic mode, leaving me to wonder when the button had been pushed. It, my body, wasn’t listening to my brain, which was yelling, begging even, for me to turn around and onto 186th street.
Feeling my phone vibrate in my hand, I glanced down, looking at it curiously.
Taking a deep breath, I answered with a shaky hello.
"Hey, listen," she started quickly, her voice panicked. "I'm on the bus and I just saw you walking and then I saw Blondie walking towards you. If you can, cut through the parking lot."
"Can't... the fence..." I muttered faintly, my eyes trained on him as we continued to move closer.
"Are you ok? What are you going to do?" he was right there now, merely feet away. All he'd have to do is look up and he'd see me.
"Walk. I don't have a choice." there. He'd seen me. Part of me watched in satisfaction as he froze, eyes wide, wearing the deer caught in headlights look, cigarette in hand.
"Do you think you'll be able to do that?" my eyes connected with his, not looking away. It was all happening so quickly, but still not fast enough. And then I was walking past him.
"I just did." the words were a whisper and I continued to stare straight ahead, not able to risk looking back and going to him.
I don't know if he looked back at me, and I'll never find out.
"Do you want me to get off?"
"No... don't go out of your way..." I murmured, feeling my heart beat dangerously fast. If I thought any of the rest of this was hard, I'd just been proven epically wrong.
This was the worst of it, what I'd just done. This was always going to be the hardest.
"Ok, I'm getting off. I'll see you soon."
I looked down at my phone, looking at the familiar home screen, a picture of my best friend and I, my brow furrowed and lips puckered in a frown. There wasn't a new text message, no familiar yellow and red icon.
I sighed before taking a long, deep breath and glancing behind me.
He was gone.
Suddenly, my face felt hot, my eyes watery, and my legs shaky. My hands were fisted, my walk was unsteady, and all I could do was pray my phone would vibrate signaling a new text message from him.
Thinking about it now, I suppose a part of me thought and wished it wasn't over, that things would go back to how they were before, that he'd come back to me as he always did, that he cared for me enough to... that I mattered.
But for the first time, he didn't go after me, he didn't text me because I wouldn't listen, and he didn't apologize.
And for the first time since everything had changed, I knew for sure it was over.