I haven't seen her or talked to her in weeks. Tonight I show up, and there she is, and the first thing she says, even before I manage to gather myself, is "Hey, how are you?"
My stomach has plunged in a terribly unsettling, yet wholly pleasing way, my heart risen so fast it threatens to choke me. She seems happy to see me, which I didn't expect. I straighten and say, very coolly,"Hey, how are you?"
She tells me she is well, there's some drama, things not going well. I know enough not to ask more. I'm good at this. Too good. I wish I wanted to know more. And I do. Yet I don't. And she would tell me if I asked. Yet she won't. Unless I really push. And I don't want to. It's so confusing, yet it's so clear. And none of that makes sense unless you're in it.
Months. It's been months. I have missed her sorely. Listened to her voice in my head, played the conversations we've had, over, and over, and over. I want to ask something of her...I want to take away something from this chance meeting, this serendipitous encounter. I'm nervous, and I tell her so.
No, she says, it's okay. But I have to go soon.
And I feel my belly clench with tension. And so I say, May I ask you a question?
Yes, she says.
I hold back for several moments, worrying, gauging, and finally, I ask, in a rush, Do you miss me?
And she says, Yes.
And I say, I'm sorry. I never meant to be that person.
She says, It's okay. We live and learn. Sorry, that's a cliche, but...
No, I say, I understand. You have to go.
Yes, she says. Otherwise, I'm going to have to tell her, and we'll have a row. And I don't want that.
I nod to myself. I have told her I am okay, and I am. She has said she is happy that I am. And yet I want to reach out and grab her and pull her close. And never let her go. Her voice fills my head, as it always has. And I take a step back, without having touched her. And my entire self aches for what I can't have.
I have to go, she says.
I understand, I say.
And I do.
And she goes.
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