He pulled his car into the parking lot and shifted it into park. He looked around the small, quaint restaurant before exiting the vehicle to see if he noticed the familiar gray coupe. No, it wasn’t in that corner. He turned to look in the other part of the lot. Nope, not there either. That was weird, she had texted him and said she was only a couple of minutes away. Just as that thought crossed his mind, the two-door sports car rolled past his car and parked a couple of spaces away.
He quickly looked away before she could notice him. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her get out of her car and begin to walk toward the entrance. She looked as good as ever. Her jeans cupped her body; the tank top she was wearing revealed just enough skin to make a man wonder what was underneath. To top it off, her heels made a slight sound on the pavement that seemed to whisper the word sexy with every step. He watched her walk all the way into the restaurant. What a show it was. After she disappeared behind the front door, he took a deep breath and stepped out into the parking lot.
He could feel the pace of his heart quicken with every inch that he got closer to the building. He desperately tried to slow it down, but it was useless. He placed his hand over his chest as a last resort and could feel the thumping through his shirt. His mouth began to dry a little. He quickly licked his lips in attempt to combat the dryness. He placed his hand on the handle of the door and with one last extra deep breath, he pulled it open and stepped inside.
She was seated across the restaurant towards the back near a window. The emptiness of the establishment made it easy for him to spot her. The door made a little noise to alert the hostess when customers arrived. The hostess walked towards him. The noise had also gotten the girls’ who he was there to see attention. She turned her head in his direction and looked at him through her sunglasses. He told the hostess that he was meeting a friend and he walked to the back where she was already sitting. He offered up a smile but was only met with a slight sarcastic smirk.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” she replied.
The awkwardness instantly surrounded them. He didn’t know what to say next. He knew what he wanted to tell her but he didn’t know how to do it. He played out this moment so many times in the last 24 hours; he figured it would be easy. He was wrong. His pulse was racing, his palms began to moisten and he had a knot in his throat the size of a grapefruit. She took off her glasses revealing her stunning green eyes. He quickly wished she had kept them on. Her beauty wasn’t helping his nervousness any.
“So, what was so important that you dragged me out here?” she asked.
“Well, I wouldn’t say ‘dragged’,” he said.
“Either way, I’m here, what’s going on?” she asked.
“Look,” he began. “I know we’ve had differences in the past and the relationship didn’t quite end the way that either one of us wanted." Just as he was beginning to feel a little comfortable, their waiter came by and gave the usual spiel.
“I’ll just have water for right now,” he told the waiter. “Anything for you?” he asked her.
“A club soda. Thank you,” she said in the waiter’s direction. The waiter announced that he would be right back and walked away to retrieve their drinks.
“As you were saying..,” she said.
“Yea, as I was saying, I think if we were given another chance that we could make this work,” he told her. “I think we owe it to ourselves.”
“Um, I don’t know about that,” she replied. There was a brief pause between them.
“You don’t?” he finally asked.
“No, I don’t,” he answered.
“Well, why not?”
“I just don’t. I had a feeling that you asked me here today to for this very reason but I just…I don’t think we match,” she explained.
“Match?” he started. “We’ve matched pretty well for the last year. Had so many great times together, hardly ever fought, what is the problem?”
The waiter returned with their drinks but he showed no interest in his water. She picked up her straw, unwrapped it, dipped it into her club soda and began to drink. The waiter then asked what they would be having for lunch. He told the waiter that they weren’t ready just yet. Giving them some more time, the waiter walked away once more.
“Well…what?” he asked her.
“I never really had any feelings for you,” she blurted out.
“What do you mean…never?” he asked.
“I mean I kind of liked you but you never really did it for me,” she continued. “At first, when you asked me out, I thought you were cute and then you turned out to be funny too but after a while, I sort of just got tired of you.”
“I don’t understand,” he replied. “What about all of the times you would call me in the middle of the night and I would come running? All of the personal things you shared with me. The talk about settling down and starting a family.”
“Honestly, I was just talking,” she said. “You were a really good listener and I didn’t really have any intention of settling down with you.”
Those last set of words struck his now regular heartbeat like a spear had went through his chest. “Never intended…?” What did she mean by that? How could she look him in the eye and say something like that? He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. As he tried to gather his thoughts and process exactly what she had just said to him, she continued to sip her club soda.
“So what, I was just some kind of ‘time filler’ for you or something?” he asked.
“When you say it like that, it sounds really bad, but I guess you were, yeah,” she answered. At this point he really wanted to reach across the table and plunge his fist deep into her face. But despite the eventual jail time that he would serve, he still loved her. He couldn’t bring himself to ever harm her. Sitting there, he felt like someone had stolen his lungs and left him to attempt to breathe on his own. A physical pain was beginning to stir within his chest. But nothing would compare to the hurt that he would feel by what she said next.
“Truthfully, I wasn’t going to tell you this but although I considered you my ‘boyfriend’, I was still seeing someone else,” she said. His ears along with his entire body perked up to this news. “I’m sorry, but I just saw myself with him much more than I ever did with you.”
“You were seeing someone else?” he repeated. “How long?”
“We don’t need to discuss that part. I’ll spare you any details,” she answered.
“Did you sleep with him?” Her eyes fell down to her soda as she stirred the straw around in it. Her silence enough provided him with the answer.
“I LOVED you. I mean I was deeply in love with you,” he screamed at her. He knew he was being loud but at the moment didn’t really care. “I treated you like, like you were a princess. I wiped your tears when you were sad, made you laugh when you were upset and held you until you fell asleep. What the hell is wrong with you?”
This response from him surprisingly made her feel a little bad. He could tell that his reaction had some actual depth because she couldn’t even look at him. She was ashamed of what she had done. How she had treated him. The secrets she had kept from him and she began to regret it…a little. But not quite enough.
She snatched up her sunglasses and her purse and walked past him but not before saying something. She placed her hand on his arm and said:
“Look, I’m sorry. I know it was wrong and I’m sure you didn’t deserve it but I just don’t feel that way about you. Some lucky girl out there should have you, not me.” With that she put her sunglasses back on and walked out of the restaurant and out of his life, for good.
Devastated and wanting to run after her, he sat back down. He wanted to go after her for two reasons: to yell at her some more and ask her more questions, and to beg her to give them another chance. But that would be stupid. It’s hard enough accepting that fact that this person that he had cared so much for didn’t care back. Had never cared back. That may have been the worse part. Learning that basically the entire relationship was a lie, she never loved him.
He dug into his wallet and threw some money on the table before leaving. He jumped in his car and tore out of the parking lot. He sped through the neighborhood in hope of releasing his anger. But it wasn’t working; the more he thought about her the harder he pressed the gas pedal. His car weaved in and out of side streets with reckless abandon. He failed to stop at a red light, tearing right through the intersection earning many honks and beeps from other drivers. He didn’t care. She didn’t care, so why should he care? He had given her everything. He had been the one who mustered up the courage, going out of his way to set up this little meeting between them and she had spat in his face.
Every memory that passed through his head about them made him angrier. Every nice thing he had ever done for her pissed him off even more. He fought back tears that were beginning to well up in his eyes. He didn’t want to shed any over her, she wasn’t worth it. His engine revved as he continued to speed through town. Finally he reached the city limits where he could take his frustration out on the highway. But he never got that far. A very narrow curve in the road yielded to a tree at the end of it. His car zoomed off the road and collided with the tree with such force that the tree broke in half and fell on top of it.
When the workers pulled his lifeless body from the wreckage, they couldn’t decipher whether he had died from the initial crash or from the tree crushing the roof of the car in. Either way, he was a distant memory now. Just like their relationship. He wouldn’t get to find out if she would even care that he had been in an accident. He couldn’t tell anyone about his heartache, especially not her. He had to suffer in silence, forever. Ironically, the last thought that he had in his head as his car struck that tree was of the two them at a picnic. They had sat under a tree and spent the entire day lying in each other’s arms. A memory about the girl whom he had loved with all of his heart and soul but who hadn’t loved him back.
by ML Kasper Kain