Same Time Next Year
She tried to fill her mind with the indistinct chatter of the heavily caffeinated patrons in the café but the memory of him came flooding into her present mind. Some part of her had always known that their relationship had been a lie though she had often been reluctant to admit it to herself wholly. As she and her companion sat in a darkened corner booth in the back, she stared at a tree outside of the café. Most of its leaves had turned and had fallen to the earth. She watched as the wind blew off leaf after leaf and it reminded her of how their relationship had died with every passing day and with every New Year that came in and went out, they had been apart. She watched as the people went on about their lives as if they had not a care in the world and remembered how her life had once been so care free. Her life, for the past year, up until now, had been easy. She had started each day with the same promise to herself about how she wouldn’t let it happen again. And after ten years she kept to her word. She knew that the only way her promise would remain true , was if she stayed away from him. There wasn’t a day that hadn’t gone by when he didn’t cross her mind. Though they had been very young when they had met, they seemed to form an everlasting bond with one another. If only she would have been more committed to him, maybe they’d still be together. The woman’s companion checked her watch and found it necessary to mention to her that this meeting was going on for longer that expected.
“He’s late” her companion said.
“He’ll be here” the woman said
“He’s an hour late”
“He’ll be here . . . He’s always an hour late”
She sat there, waiting with bated breath, as her heart pounded with anticipation. She looked at her companion, who had grown impatient, smiled weakly and reassured her once again that he would show up.
“I’ll give you another 30 . . . and then we’re leaving” her companion said.
The woman put her head down and raised it again suddenly as she heard the subtle music of the café’s wind chimes. As the door blew open it brought with it a rush of air and leaves, and two tall statuette men wearing overcoats. They walked to the back of the café as if sensing her location. They stood for a moment and proceeded to taking the two vacant seats in front of the woman’s booth.
She was at a loss for words as she stared at him in all his glory. The man glared at her as though searching his memory to remember her face. The man’s companion glowered at the woman as they sat in utter silence.
“Sorry we’re late” his companion expressed plainly.
“It’s alright” the woman said. “How have you two been?”
“Fine” the man answered
“Do you mind if we leave the two of them alone for a while?” The woman’s companion asked his.
The two companions left the café and stood outside under the tree. They watched them from outside as their awkwardness continued. The man and the woman were left alone with only their inner thoughts as company. She wanted to know everything that had occurred since their separation and she wanted to tell him everything. As they sat in peace, they seemed to be taking in one another’s presence.
“Why?” he asked finally.
The woman searched her mind for an appropriate answer before she spoke.
“I would like to tell that it was because I was young and stupid . . . but that would be a lie and I think that I have done enough damage as it is” she said
“Then why don’t you shock me with the truth”
“I was callous and cold hearted and I was not ready for that kind of a relationship and I don’t blame you if you never want to see me again”
He gazed at her with a look of content and malevolence on his face. The intensity and innocence in his stare seemed to pierce into her very soul and she could no longer be strong. It was as though she had been reduced to a child who had been punished for being naughty as the hot tears streamed down her face. She bared her soul to him and she confided to him what no other living person knew but he still wanted to know more. The woman knew that all the explanations in the world would not make up for the pain she had caused. She knew that he would never forgive her and he knew that she would never forgive herself.
The woman’s companion, along with his, entered the café once more. Their entrance meant that their meeting had come to an end. The woman watched avidly as he got up.
“It was nice to see you again” he said
“It was nice to see you too” she said
As the woman stood, she felt the weight of regret on shoulders. She gave him another once over. He looked past his anger and discontent for her and gave her a tight embrace.
“Same time next year?” he whispered in her ear.
“Without a doubt” she replied trying to hold back her tears.
She watched with a look of melancholy on her face as he and his companion left the café. The anxiousness that she had had in the beginning was returning. She now had something to look forward too again. She and her companion watched the two men walk past the tree in front of the café and continued to watch them until they disappeared from view.
“You’ve got yourself a good man” her companion said.
“I know” she replied.
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