“Please, don’t go.” I begged. My hand was on his sleeve, pulling him back inside. He smiled and patted me on the head. “I’m sorry Lily, but I have to. You’ve been a great friend to me. I really appreciated you.” I couldn’t say anything. My mind was too busy recording his actions, his words and how he said them. I wanted this memory to be forever engraved with me. I let go of his sleeve and whispered good-bye. I wanted him to lean in close to me so that I could smell his hair, but he just waved back to me while walking down my long sidewalk. He told me he was leaving the city three days ago and since then, I’ve never been sober. I wanted to forget the fact that he was going to leave or the fact that I had fallen so stupidly in love with him.
I shook his hand and said hello. He seemed like a nice guy, full of smiles and laughter. We quickly caught up on a conversation about our love for music, but he had to leave to meet up with some of his friends. When I walked home that night, I remember a feeling of liberation. It had been a while since I felt that way. “No, this is stupid. There’s no way I’m going to be pulling a Juliet or a Miranda.” I mumbled to myself as I unlocked my apartment door. I twirled around the apartment and said in a sing-song voice. “Hi, I’m Joo-li-et and I love Romeo! He complimented me on my beauty and I just love him so much! Let’s get married!” I twirled into my kitchen and picked up my mug. “Helloo, I’m Miranda and I just met Ferdinand! He’s my everything even though he’s the third man I’ve ever saw!” I made myself a cup of tea before settling down, thoughts racing throughout my head. This day took a turn for the better. “Fine, I like him, but I’m not one of those ditzy girls.” I crossed my arms, turned on the TV and for two hours, all my thoughts about him faded away into cooking shows.
The next morning I woke up in an excellent mood. The morning light slipped through the light blue curtains and danced around the kitchen. I found myself singing and dancing again. Everything felt like it fit together so perfectly. I even did my hair up in a neat braid and put on a new lipstick I hadn’t worn in a while. When I checked into work, I felt like everyone’s eyes on me. “Wow, Lily! What’s the special occasion?” one of my co-workers said. “ I smiled and shrugged. “Today’s a good day!” “Well, what’s the reason for it? You just don’t wake up happy nowadays.” she persisted, leaning in so her boobs looked a little bigger. “Well, then, I guess I woke up happy! It’s possible.” I said while making my way to my desk. I called out behind me, “By the way, you look great today!” I wanted to see that smile erupt onto her face, but I was already going to be late to a meeting. I still had my priorities.
By the time work was over and all my conversations with my colleagues were over, I was ready to head home. All I had to do was pick up some groceries for the next week. I pulled into the parking lot and looked at my reflection in my car’s mirror. Did I really look that great? Nearly all of my colleagues stopped me and asked what was up. Was this what love looked like? I laughed out loud and muttered, “Love! That’s funny! I just saw him for an hour!” I pushed my cart through the blinding lights of the grocery store and my heart dropped when I saw him down the aisle browsing for toilet paper. If I walked close enough, maybe I’ll find out what brand he likes. A creepy thought ran through my mind and I shuddered. Why was I even thinking like this? Why was I so smitten with that conversation? I went through my shopping list and hoped that I wouldn’t run into him when my fears came true. He spotted me down the aisle and waved. Naturally, I had to wave back so I wouldn’t be that rude girl, yet it also seemed like I would be ditzy girl again. “Hey, didn’t expect to see you here!” he beamed at me. “Yeah, just doing some last minute shopping.” I said without thinking. He smiled and chuckled. “Say, why don’t we exchange numbers? I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you more often.” My heart jumped to my throat and fell down to my stomach. I agreed and whipped out my phone. Our hands brushed against each other briefly as we switched phones and inputted our numbers. For the next couple months, we grew to be friends. I would find myself at his house and he would be at my apartment. We would always exchange work stories and complain about incompetent co-workers. Sometimes would we find ourselves meeting each other at random restaurants and hang-out for two hours. My friend asked me if we ever cried together excluding that time when we watched a sad movie. I looked her as if she was crazy and lied. She claims that crying together increases bonding. She warned me not to fall in love with him. I called her crazy. There was one night when I had a rough day. My mother continued to berate me over the phone and I was so tired of it. I was thirty years old and I deserved better. My washing machine decided to spew soap everywhere and at work, I suddenly felt like managing my work grew to be extremely difficult. One of my friends had turned away from me and threatened to spread rumors about me. I went over his house and what started off as our usual complaining about our work turned into a one-sided conversation about my own sorry life. I kept on apologizing for wasting his time, but he just shook his head and held me close. I remember feeling his chest move up and down and having an overwhelming feeling of peace. I felt so safe in his arms and wondered if we could continue like this. That’s when I knew that I loved him. Before I fell asleep and before he tucked me in with a blanket his grandmother knitted for him and before he kissed my forehead, he told me that we’re all loved and he looked at me with such a soft look – like he was the one who loved me. I woke up that morning feeling the same way when I had first met him. Everything was perfect and it felt like the stars had aligned and the harsh words stopped bullying me.
For the next month, I dreamed of scenarios while still continuing with our routines. I thought of how I would tell him my feelings and that he would tell me had the same feelings for me. We would get married and have two boys. We would move out of this town, I would quit my job and find a friendly neighborhood for our kids. Everything would be perfect and I would constantly lust over those thoughts. The closet thing on that hefty list was telling him my feelings and that would set everything in order. One night, I was over at his house and it was the day after Valentine’s day. We wanted to make that day a friend’s day, yet I took it as a date. It was everything to me even though I didn’t vocalize it. I thought to myself that tonight was going to be the moment when I would tell him that I loved him. An entire sequence played in my head and I would finally feel his lips on mine. Everything would be perfect. Although when I went to tell him that I loved him, he shattered my dreams. He told me that he was leaving tomorrow for a new job. How could have I neglected all the times he insisted on hanging out at my place? He was busy packing. How could have I neglected the fact he had already quit his job? It was temporary anyways. He smiled weakly as he said that we could Skype, but I saw in his eyes that it wasn’t going to happen. I knew that he would drop all contact with me. Can I hear my thoughts? Can I hear my own voice? I couldn’t possibly be overeating, but knew I’ll just treat him the same way he would treat me – just the way it had been for all this time. I couldn’t say anything. My plan was shattered and I didn’t know what to do. A piece of reality hit me as we awkwardly sat next to each other. He had never told me that he loved me. We were just friends. The only thing I could muster out was selfish wishes. I mumbled, “If you’re really going to go, please don’t forget about me. “ He smiled and patted my head. “Don’t worry, I won’t.” I hated when he patted my head. The next thing I knew, it was midnight and he had to head home to finish packing. He said that it was getting late anyways. “Lily, I’m not going to be leaving tomorrow. You can still come over and it’ll be pretty empty, but I’ll still be here.” He offered when he saw me turn away to hide my tears. He pulled me into a tight hug and whispered, “I love you, Lily. You were great. I’m going to miss you so much.” Everything I wanted was in this instance, but it wasn’t how I wanted it to be. I wasn’t going to be seeing him again and that’s when he decided to say what I wanted to hear. I ignored all the fireworks going off in my head and replaced it with rain. Things will never be perfect. I spent the next hour convincing him to stay, but he had to go. I let him go and watched him wave back at me. I wanted him to pull me close again and feel his warmth through his shirt. There was nothing I could do. He was going to find someone else, charm them and leave them. Or even worse, he’ll have someone he actually loved. I shut the door behind him and wandered to a cabinet I never opened unless I was hosting a party or family was over. I popped out the cork and drank. “I’m going to forget about everything.” I mumbled, sliding onto the floor, the kitchen tiles cold underneath me.