Three weeks had passed. It was very real now, his departure from her life. Her house did not feel he same without him. Hell, her life did not feel the same without him.
She remembered the night he left. It was a vicious memory—the way he stood there looking at her with unfeeling eyes as she begged for him to not let this be it. He did not acquiesce to her pleas.
Now, three weeks after that night, she was in front of his new door. She desperately tried not to be ‘that girl’ the one who continues to call and stalk her estranged ex-lover. She had done a good job so far. This would be the first in-person contact between them.
Earlier in the week she had found a box he missed the day he crept back into what had been their home and packed up his piece of their life together. She knew that he wanted it to be a clean and easy break. He said as much when he ended their relationship. He never intended to hurt her. He said that too. But look how well that turned out. She offered to ship his belongings to his new residence. He insisted that it was not necessary. He could either pick them up, or she could drop them off. It was her choice. She chose the latter. She could not bear to have him in that space again, what used to be ‘their’ space. It would only hurt her more.
With the box held close to her chest in one arm, she lifted the other to knock on the door. She took a deep breath and prepared herself for their encounter. She listened to the shuffle of feet as someone made their way to the open door.
It opened, the portal to his new life without her. She looked him over. She saw it in his eyes. He looked free. She felt his eyes roam from her head to her toes and then to the box of his belongings in her arms.
“Hello,” she said in a much more controlled tone than she felt.
“Hi, you want to come in?” He asked as he reached for the box.
She handed it off to him, “sure”.
She stepped inside and looked around. It was a nice apartment with simple furnishings. It was very him.
He put the box on the coffee table.
“Have a seat”. He said.
She sat down on the couch. It was new, like most of the things in his apartment and fairly uncomfortable.
“Can I get you anything?” He asked.
“Um…” She was not sure how to answer. There was so much she wanted from him, but he knew all of that already. Everything that she needed to say, everything that she could say, had all been said weeks ago.
She told herself she would leave her heart at the door and out of this entire situation. But it was harder than she thought. She missed him She missed the way he laughed at her jokes and pushed her buttons just to get a reaction out of her. The things she thought she was annoyed by really she loved. She had only realized that in the weeks he had been gone.
“Water?” she said uncertainly.
“I’ll be right back”. He nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. He returned moments later with a bottle of water. He handed the bottle to her. When their skin touched, she expected to feel something—the thing that had been there between them for years. She felt nothing. She put her head down and concentrated on opening the bottle of water.
He sat down on the coffee table next to the box and in front of her. She felt his nearness from the heat that radiated off of his body. She closed her eyes briefly. Memories of the last time they were in the same room together sharing the same space flooded her mind. It was not pleasant for her. He had been honest with his feelings and his thoughts. That honesty still filled his eyes. She knew her own eyes were radiating her feelings of regret.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized that she did not want that day or the current moment to be the last memory of them—who they had been to each other. For three years he was her lover; for five years he was her best friend. He was the person who knew all of her secrets. He knew all of her flaws. He knew her inside and out. He was the person she ran to when her life was falling apart. Who was she to run to now?
Finally, she looked up from the still full bottle and into his eyes.
“Can you maybe just hold me?” She asked.
“I don’t think…”
“Look, I know that it won’t change where we are, or the fact that there isn’t a tomorrow for us”. She said.
“Then why?” He asked.
She could feel him studying her as she pulled on a strand of her curly hair. “If this is it—our last night with each other, seeing each other—I want it to be better than our fight. Better than our breakup. I want to have a memory not shrouded in pain. It matters to me. It matters how this thing between us ends. Right now, in my head, it’s just bad, all bad. The only thing I can seem to remember about us is the day you left and I begged you to stay. I know that things were said; and thrown. I’m not asking for forgiveness here. I’m just asking for one more night.” She took a sip of her water and then began to pick at the label awaiting his response.
“Are you asking what I think you’re asking?” He questioned.
She looked up at him through her long lashes. For a brief moment, she saw the desire in his eyes. She nodded her head. When she woke up that morning, she never dreamed she would be asking this of him, but here she was.
He slowly scooted forward on the coffee table. He placed his hands on either side of her face and brought their lips together. The soft kiss quickly turned into more as each felt the familiar pull of the other.
It happened quickly. Clothes were discarded and inhibitions were checked at the door. What occurred between them was more than a simple fuck, but less than a tryst between lovers. It was something else entirely. It was goodbye.
It was what she needed. It was closure. She lay on the floor next to him and turned her head to look him in the face. Brown eyes met hazel as she searched for any seeds of regret.
“Can this be it?” She asked. She pushed a strand of his strawberry blonde hair from his forehead.
He looked at her confused
“Can this be the way we remember us?” She elaborated.
He nodded in silent agreement. With his affirmation, she gathered her clothes she had so easily tossed aside and got dressed. She grabbed her purse and left his apartment without another word.
After her exit, she stopped and leaned against the wall and closed her eyes. She felt a new fear run through her body. What if I never love again?
She took a deep breath, pushed herself off of the wall, and headed home.