Sunlight filtered through the trees, falling on crisp leaves and mossy stones. Birds whistled
to each other. Somewhere, a dog was barking playfully. It was cold, but not too cold, just
right to be a perfect day. Except for the girl. She’d been crying for a while now. He wasn’t
sure if, or when, she was going to stop.
Tears fell down the girls’ face, her shoulders shaking with every breath. Finally, after what
felt like hours, she looked up.
“How could you do this to me?” She shook her head. “After EVERYTHING, you just leave?
Did you think I wouldn’t care? Did you think I’d be happy?”
She paced, her feet crunching leaves, her breathing becoming calmer. This was either
acceptance, or the calm before the storm. Probably the latter.
She spun around fiercely, her hair whipping against her face as she came to a stop.
Yep. Here we go. Showtime.
“WHY? WHY NOW?” she was waving her arms around. “Everything is good…was good.
Whatever. I don’t understand. Not at all.” Her arms dropped. “How can everything we had
yesterday just be gone today? I need answers.”
He looked at her in silence. She wasn’t done shouting yet, he could tell by the way she was
standing; fists clenched by her sides, head tilted slightly. She was biting her bottom lip. She
always looked so cute when she did that, even though it normally meant trouble was
He remembered the first time he’d seen her, how she didn’t look away when she caught
him staring at her, how she stuck her tongue out instead of smiling, how she held his gaze
without looking away until he did. She was so different, he loved that about her. He smiled
sadly. Things change, they always will.
Uh-oh. She’d stopped biting her lip and was taking deep breaths. He was tempted to leave
now, but knew he had to stay. This WAS all his fault after all.
“You were the one who said you’d never leave. NEVER. You were the one who promised me
that you’d always be here. And yet, YOU’RE the one who’s leaving. Explain to me how that’s
fair. How is it fair that I now have to pick up the pieces of my life and start again, while you
don’t have to do that?”
Her face crumpled. Shoulders hunched, she started sobbing.
“It’s just not fair.”
She sank to the floor, her back against a tree, and covered her face with her hands. He
hated seeing her like this, hated that he was the one who’d caused her all this pain, but it
was done. He couldn’t take it back. He had to face the consequences of his actions, no
matter how ugly.
“I just don’t understand.”
She was whispering now, her face still hidden by her hands. The diamond on her left ring
finger catching the sun and sending rainbows everywhere. He’d looked everywhere for a
ring as perfect as she was, but nothing seemed quite right. In the end, he’d had it made
especially for her. A one off, unique design. Just like her. The look on her face when she saw
it was worth all the time and effort it had taken; nothing was as important as her being
Now look at what he’d done.
She sat huddled on the floor, trying to catch her breath and failing. She needed to cry, to let
it all out. Wasn’t crying supposed to be therapeutic? Five minutes later…or was it an hour?
He didn’t know anymore; he’d lost all sense of time. All he knew was that she was silent.
The crying had stopped. So had the barking dog.
“I don’t really have much choice, do I?”
She looked up. Moisture glistening on her face, a look of resignation mixed with sadness.
She ran her hands through her hair and stood up, inhaling deeply as she did so.
He watched her intently, silently. He’d always admired her strength, nothing ever seemed to
stop her, she just grew stronger with every obstacle flung in her path. Was she strong
enough for this though? This was different. This was him leaving.
She spoke softly, head down as if she were addressing the grass.
“If there’s nothing I can do to change things, then it’d be a waste of time and energy trying
to change them. So, I actually have no choice but to let you go. Even though I don’t want to,
even though I don’t completely understand what’s happened, I NEED to let you go.”
She smiled softly as she looked up, a stray tear sliding down her cheek, the breeze catching
her hair in such a way that it looked like it was dancing.
“I’ll always love you. Always have, always will.”
God, he loved her. So much.
She was silent, staring at the grass, perfectly still. It was over. She wouldn’t shout anymore,
she’d still be sad sometimes, but he knew her well enough to know that she’d got it all out
of her system. He could go. 49
He turned and started walking away. If only he hadn’t been driving that night. If only he
hadn’t been texting. If only he’d hit the brakes in time.
He looked back at the gravestone, pristine and new. The girl sat wordlessly, running her
fingers over the engraving.
If only he had survived the crash.
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