I called her
Because I had no one else to call
She answered before the second ring
She was anxious
I never called so late
In fact I never called
“Come meet me” I asked
But the despair in my voice demanded
“Ill be right over” she said
No questions asked
She held me, when she arrived
Wrapped her arms around me
And hushed my sobs in an empty hospital hall
“I’m here” she said
And her long brown hair fell onto my face
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, “sorry about this morning”
She shook her head
“I’m sorry I told you I didn’t want to see you again”
“I forgot about it already” she smiled
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love her
If I said I hadn’t fallen in love with her hazel eyes and her pale skin
“have you eaten?” she said worried
I shook my head
She dragged me along to a random 24 hr joint
“I’m leaving” she blurter and she could not have picked a worse moment
“Out of town, getting a place two hours from here”
I nodded, “for the better”
“You can come visit””
“I’d rather not’ I said drinking the coffee laden with cream
“Perhaps I should have said this sooner, perhaps I should not say it at all,” she whispered.
I looked up, looked up at the fine lines by her lips, and the few strands that stood out of her ember hair, lighter, wanting to be grey. I waited.
“When all this started I liked you, I liked you a lot, but you were just a game. I never would have guessed it would turn into this, I can see myself spending the rest of my life with you. Come with me, say yes and I’ll fix everything so we can be together”
Her words were healing, in a moment of uncertainty. I shook my head, “you mean you’ll leave him?”
She reached across the table to grab my black hair, “Yes”
“You know I can’t” I answered, “ I would not be completely happy and I would not make you happy”
“you can’t make a family with your family, I’m offering you a future, us, home, kids, a picket fence by the beach,” there was a vulnerability I had never seen on her.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t love you” I started confessing for the first time in two years what I had always felt.
“But not enough?” she offered a sad smile.
“I love you enough, I can see myself with you. I can see us together for years to come. I can see this overly romantic scenario become real; however, my family means the world to me. Telling them the truth would break my mother’s heart, she would die”
“I understand” she said, “but remember I’ll always be there if you need anything”
I didn’t answer, instead I leaned in across the cheap Formica booth and kissed her.
She took me back to the hospital and left, because someone was waiting for her at home, that someone she would have to spend her days with now.
I waited for the doctor to arrive, mom was doing better. I sat alone in the chair, the coffee cup she had bought me still in my hands and I cried. I cried because I had let love walk away and yet I felt strangely free.