Short Stories

… and he walked away

Prologue to Bittersweet. Maybe.

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I knew I’d find him here. I came here every day around different times hoping I’d run into him. Today, I did.

It was a warm evening, clear blue sky and a slight breeze barely rustling the leaves. I kept wondering if a day this beautiful would bring me to my doom. I walked slowly, not knowing what I was going to say or do.

This was our spot, the secluded corner by the beach. We would sit under the shade of the tree and feel the waves brushing softly against our toes. Like cheesy romantic couples we had even carved our initials in the tree with the heart and everything. We had sat here and watched a hundred sunsets and sunrises. Us, together. This spot echoed with our comfortable silences and hid away our messy fights. It held our tears and our laughter. I remember the time he lit a hundred candles for a romantic evening together. This was our place. This was home.

And here he was sitting there staring into the sea. Was he too hoping to run into me or did he wish to be alone? I inched closer, my heart thumping in my chest not knowing what to expect. Something had changed. I don’t know what or why or when but I just knew it did. There were times before when he just went away without warning but he came back. I always knew he would. Not this time though and I wanted to know why. In vain, I had tried to reach him for the past couple of weeks. I was afraid to go find him at his place. Afraid that he’d see me and slam the door in my face. Or worse never let me inside.  I don’t know why I felt this way because he was always kind to me. I called, I texted but ofcourse there was no response. I would’ve contacted his friends but I am a very private person. When two people have problems, it should stay between them.

My gut told me to bolt, that this was a bad idea but there was a part of me.. the stupid, naïve part of me that wanted to stay, to work things out because he would never hurt me. He loved me too much. I sat next to him. I expected him to leave or worse, yell. He had never yelled at me. Not even once. In retrospect, any reaction would have been welcome except this unfamiliar ignorance. I looked at him from the corner of my eye. He just stared ahead, his jaw set in a straight line. I wanted to reach out to him. I wanted to hold him. He didn’t even turn around and look at me. He was oblivious to my presence and it was killing me. I wanted to hit him, scream at him. I was such a mess.

“Why?” I choked.

“Please stop. I can’t.” he said.

“Can’t what?” It made no sense. What was happening? And why?

He abruptly stood up. “I can’t.” I looked up at him and for a moment our eyes met. And I knew. I just knew it was over. It was over. It was over. The thought was on a loop in my head.

I should’ve looked away, I should’ve just let him go. But I childishly held his gaze. I didn’t want this moment to end. I wanted to look at his face, hug him one last time. I wanted to tell him I loved him and that he made me happy. I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted to say good-bye. I deserved that. Everybody deserves a good-bye.

It was brutal for me so I know how he must’ve felt. He was never good with confrontations anyway. A moment had changed our lives before, a moment was changing our lives again. After what seemed like an eternity, he simply turned around and started to walk away. I didn’t even watch him leave. People say you don’t let a loved one just walk away. But what other choice did I have? I would’ve betrayed him, betrayed myself. I wanted to call out. I wanted to run after him, beg him to stop, ask him to stay. That naïve part of me still hoped that he might turn back. That he would at least come and say good-bye. But he was never coming back. I was certain.

I didn’t know how much time had passed. I just sat there broken and numb. I had hope before coming here and it was gone. I waited for the pain to hit me. The sense of loss to tear me apart but it didn’t happen. The waves still gently caressed my toes, the tree still had our initials with the heart carved and everything. To the unknowing eye everything was the same. I watched as the sun began to set. There was no one to share it with me. It was time for the birds to fly home. Where was I going back to? More importantly, who was I going back to? This was supposed to be my home. It had witnessed our love and now, the pain of our separation. It was getting dark. Alone and cold, I finally allowed the tears fall.


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