She walks up to the door, phone in hand. She is texting someone.
That someone is sitting in a chair, not 40 feet from that door, looking at a computer screen. In his room, with the blinds open, the sun pouring in.
He reads the text.
>>Hey, can you let me in? I don’t want to knock ;)<<
Astonished, surprised… stunned that she is outside, he somewhat shakily gets up from his chair, and walks out into the hall. He never really thought it would be her. What is she doing here?
He opens the door, and there she is, as if she had always been there. As if no time had passed at all. The same idiotic feelings resurface in an instant. He feels a lump in his throat, but he buries all of it beneath decorum and a nervous smile. Why is she here?
“Hi. How’re you?” she asks, standing on the front porch, smiling.
“I’m good, I’m good. Come on in,” he says with a smile and a gesture, holding the door open for her as she passes by. He closes the door after her, still doing his best to hide his shock.
“Let me get my shoes on,” he says, and leads her to his room, assuming that her unannounced visit means she finally wants to hear his story.
He enters his room with her close behind, and sits down on the chair near his desk, and begins to grab his shoes as she follows him in. Surprise follows surprise as he looks up to see her close his bedroom door. He stops any attempt to put on his shoes and simply looks at her in curiousity as she sits down on his bed and puts her purse down on the floor next to her feet.
“What’s up? Do you want to do this here, or take a walk?” He asks.
She looks at the ground in front of her feet, and rubs her knees a bit. She looks like she is obviously thinking of something. Right as he is about to ask her again in another way, she finally blurts out “I’m sorry.”
“What?” he asks, blinking and shocked for a third time.
“I’m sorry,” she says, finally looking at him in the eyes. She stares at him for a few moments, and time seems to stretch out indefinitely. “I’m sorry for running.”
“I’m sorry too, for-”
“Stop,” she says. “Let me finish. I need to say this.”
He nods and she re-positions herself with her back to the wall, feet folded under her. She lets out a sigh, and continues.
“I’m sorry for being scared of what we had, and what we were. I’m sorry that I was afraid of what we might become. It was… too much for me to handle. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you, and I didn’t believe in us. I’m sorry I didn’t trust you.” She pauses and looks up at him again with her marble-blue eyes.
He sits there, unable to fully proccess what he has heard. What am I supposed to say to this?
Part of him wants to agree with her, part of him wants to argue against her. Part of him wants her to take it seriously, and part of him wants to brush it all off. Part of him wants to wrap her in his arms and tell her it will be alright, and yet another part of him wants to tell her to get out. The two biggest parts of him however, which are also in conflict, consist of one wanting to hear more, and the other dreading what may be said next. He hangs on a thread, waiting.
With a great effort, he manages to nod at her to continue.
She takes another breath. “I’m also sorry I put you in the position I put you in. I never meant to hurt you.”
He makes to speak again, and get as far as “It’s ok, I did the-” before she holds up a hand and looks at him imploringly. “Please, just listen.”
“I’m still a work in progress, and I may always be. The thing is, I want to make this work. But I need you to be patient, and I need time to figure some things out.”
Now it is his turn to look at the floor in front of his feet. He should be thrilled, but he finds it hard to feel anything. The woman whom he loved and lost has just told him that she wants to come back. It’s exactly what he wanted, but he is so shocked and so used to being numb that all he can do is stare at the floor. He is terrified, because he has heard something similar before. He is waiting for the other shoe to drop, and knows it.
Time and silence stretch uncomfortably as he stares at the floor. She looks at him, and asks “Well? Are you… going to say anything?”
He looks up at her, into her eyes. Those same eyes he has woken up to see in the morning many times. The same eyes that always have laughter in them. The same eyes he has seen whenever he has closed his own for half a year and more, but never once in person since. He simply looks at her. He knows he must be making her uncomfortable, but he can’t help it. He has no words to say. Nothing that would make sense. So he stares.
What does she expect me to say?
“Fine.” she says finally, clearly upset about his lack of a response. “I get it. I’ll leave you alone,” she says, emotion heavy in her voice. She scoots off the bed, and grabs her purse, preparing to leave.
All at once, he sees two futures. One with her, and one without her. In a flash he sees a house with a porch, a yard, trees, a well. He sees dogs, a garden, and horses. He sees her, working outside in the sun. He sees children. He sees every smile, every laugh, every late night movie session, every day at the beach, every road trip. He sees every pastry shared, every dinner shared, every bite of food. He sees bike rides, concerts, bars, movies, hikes. He her bouncing from place to place, sees her reading. He sees a billion billion moments. Smiles and laughter and tears and warmth. He sees a thousand thousand hours, all of them filled with the intensity of love and life, and not a single one wasted. Every moment has her involved in some way.
And then he sees the life without her. And though it does not burn like the fires of Hades, or freeze like the halls of Niflheim, it lacks so much light and color by comparison it might as well be black and white. Not a moment wasted here either, but certainly not the life he wants by comparison. Grey. Far too grey.
So before she can reach the door he gets up from his chair and quickly but gently puts his hand on hers, stopping her from reaching the doorknob.
“Don’t leave,” he says, quietly. It almost comes out as a murmur. “I don’t want you to leave. I never wanted you to leave. I’m sorry too. But I also need time…”
She turns around and looks him in the eye as he says this, as if searching for something, questioning. Her eyes betray her disappointment, which she stoically does her best to hide until he speaks the next three words.
“Time with you.”
Her eyes widen slightyly. It is her turn to be surprised.
“I’ll make you a deal,” he says. “Stay with me, and I’ll always be patient for you.” As he says this, he places her left hand over the top of his right hand, and puts his left over the top of hers, lightly mimicking a car trip where she put her hand over his to keep him sane. Feeling the warmth of her skin for the first time in what seems like forever sends shivers up his arms.
He looks her in the eyes and says “If you put your hand on mine, and stay with me, I’ll never get lost, and so neither will you. What do you say?”
She looks at him, her eyes as moist as his. Her lips curl up into that half smile of hers. She says “Alright. I think can manage that.”
Both of these young fools stare at each other, hands on top of hands, inches separating them from each other, and the rest of the world shrinks down. An ever collapsing bubble, getting smaller and infinitely smaller, until there are no walls, no trees, no windows, no light, no shadow, and no time. Just the pair of them, just the rush of blood in the ears, a roar of sound and silence. Just a moment, and everything that brings with it.
It is at this moment that he finally smiles. The other foot has dropped.
Half-grinning like an idiot, he is stunned again when she leans in and kisses him. No simple peck on the lips, this, but rather a full, passionate contact. When her lips meet his, he feels an electric thrill starting from his lips, bouncing to the back of his head, dropping all the way to his toes, and rampaging all the way back up to his head until it hits the top of his skull, panics, and finally escapes in a raucous flight through his nose in a heavy exhale of pure exhilaration.
He returns the kiss, fully, honestly, and holds nothing back. Years and months pass and the two hearts that were once one revel in having found each other again. Finally, she breaks off gently, the tip of her nose brushing the left side of his chin as she moves her head to his shoulder and rests it there. He can smell her hair, once so familiar and familiar again, and breaths in what he never thought he’d breathe again. Her. He can’t help himself. He smiles, again like a fool, and the moisture escapes his eye, traveling down his upturned cheek slowly.
All the pain. All the worry. All the fear. All the horror. All the doubt. All the anger. All the lies. All the mistakes. All of the things that consumed them both before and during their time apart hold no weight any longer.
Any sane person would know it couldn’t be that simple, but amazingly, inexplicably, it suddenly was. In a simple, pure moment, two hearts beat as one, and, though two fools they may be, two fools together they surely are. One learned to leave the door open, the other learned to step through. Which was which was open for lively debate, but was of little consequence in the end. Likewise, it was of little use in any serious conversation, for the root cause of such a lively discourse is love, which leaves all people in honest, stunned silence.
Afterall, there is such a thing as a comfortable silence. The trick is to simply enjoy it.
Time to get to it.