The storm receded as quickly as it came. Just like they always do. The clouds darken the sky of her heart, lightning cracking in her voice as she struggles not to cry.
Pull yourself together, James. It isn’t like anyone is dying…
In the aftermath, the chaotic turmoil of emotions struggling – conflict fighting to keep the upper hand while peace grapples to take root again – exhausts her.
Be an adult. Keep it together. Another hour, then you’ll be home and you can cry, scream, rage as much as you need to…
After the sky clears, she just feels empty and numb.
I can’t live without them nearby, God. I can’t. I’m not trying to be selfish or manipulative. I just can’t do it. She’s one of the only people I care about and we’ve already been through so much. You’ve taken her away so many times, don’t do this again. Don’t. Please. I can’t do this. Not again.
My words don’t make it very far. They fall flat, dropping onto my bedroom floor and shattering into fragments of false hope and bitter disappointment. Anger. Hurt. Fury. Pain.
Evelyn May paws at my arm, whining that high-pitched puppy whine that’s full of whatever emotion dog’s have that’s akin to compassion and worry.
I know, baby.
Her ears go back and she shakes slightly. That’s when I realize I’m shaking, too.
“I’m mostly torn,” she says as we tramp across the white hot parking lot. My boots rub at the inside of my ankles and my hair is clinging to the back of my neck but those small inconveniences hardly seem important.
“We’d be safe there.”
You could be safe here, once he’s gone.
“I’d miss you.”
I don’t know how to do this. I don’t do goodbyes. I never have. I cling onto whoever is trying to leave until my nails leave little crescent moons shining all blue and purple on their skin.
I want to offer solutions. Suggestions that seem feasible, at least to me. Things that would, in theory, provide without making their lives completely unbearable.
But she insists that they have to be responsible. Ends have to be met, and apparently they can’t be met my way.
She says that “happiness is a luxury” and the price is too high.
“You don’t look okay.”
How do I explain something that goes back ten, eleven years? How do I, concisely, tell one person about ten years of memories? Ten years of days spent laughing in the sunshine and ten years of nights spent watching stars from the dew-ridden grass? How do I convey the desperation I felt when the friendship began to crumple, or the joy I experienced when I discovered that broken walls can be rebuilt?
…How do I admit the fear that I’ve carried for ten years? The fear that clouded my mind with jealousy anytime another friend was mentioned or a plane ticket out-of-state was purchased?
Fear of rejection. Fear of being replaced.
Fear of being forgotten.
I have been informed at least three times that it’s possible to visit someone who lives out of state. That these little devices known as telephones can help connect two people who live far apart. There’s FaceBook chat, text messaging, FaceTime, emails –
I know that’s true.
But last Monday still felt like the beginning of The End. An end that I’ve lived over and over again in my mind, and always dreaded seeing come to fruition.
“The End” has always been my least favorite part of a story.