The words echoed in her head and her heart dropped to the pit of her stomach. She felt like she could throw up and she was being choked to death.
“Just take me home.” She said wiping away more tears and sitting up straight.
For a few minutes he didn’t move and the rain kept pounding on the windshield.
He reached for the steering wheel and before he could put the car in drive, she reached over and grabbed his hands. “What are you doing!?” She yelled. She could barely speak without choking on tears from crying so hard.
“You said to take you home, that’s what I’m doing.” He said tightening his grip on the wheel and mumbling curse words under his breath before punching it. She’s never seen him so violent.
“You’re just gonna let me go like that?” She started crying again, but it wasn’t a normal soft cry. It was a cry you hear in the store when a parent tells their child no.
“I don’t know what to do, I-” he started before being interrupted by a phone call.
“Hello?” He answered.
She could hear his mom through the phone and she sounded concerned and there was long pauses.
“Andrew, where are you? You need to come home.”
“I’m at the coffee house. There’s a band playing.”
He sobbed and tried speaking but nothing would come out.
“Andrew, what’s wrong? Please come home.”
“I’m okay. I’m fine. I’ll be home in a bit.” He said rubbing his forehead.
“Watch out for police and be careful. It’s past curfew.”
He hung up and sat up straight. She brought her head to her knees and tried to catch her breath.
“I need to talk to my mom. I’ll take you home and I’ll text you in an hour giving you an answer.” She nodded and he started to drive off. When they pulled into her street, she sighed into her hands and then looked at him.
“What?” He said, not looking at her.
“Nothing… I just… Never mind.”
He dropped her off and waited until she was back in the window before driving off. It was 2AM when she got to bed and the next hour dragged on as she stared at the ceiling. Her phone buzzed.
“Hey” the text read.
“I’m not going anywhere, I love you.”
“I love you so much.”
She eventually fell asleep like a big weight had been lifted off her shoulder and when she awoke in the morning, she texted him again.
“I can’t wait to see you tonight.”
“I’m not sneaking over anymore.”
“Not until your mom is more lenient and understanding of our relationship.”
“But that’s our only private time together…”
“I know, but just not now.”
The next couple of nights seemed to drag on and “I love you” never left his mouth the same way. It’s like he said it as though he was forced to and regretted it. He came over to swim one night with her and her family and everything seemed fine though they didn’t say much to each other, just shared long glances from across the pool. He hasn’t been himself since that night. Before he left, he kissed her and it was the longest\most compassionate kiss they ever shared, as if it was the last.
The next morning they were texting about how he has been feeling weird and depressed lately and he’s not sure why.
“I love you. I don’t like you like this.” she said.
“I know… I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. What can I do to make it better?
“I don’t know what to do but I don’t think this is going to work.”
“I’m sorry. This just can’t work, you’re moving and you’ve got a much better life ahead of you. I can’t stand in your way.”
They debated back and forth over the next couple days and all she could think about was how him being afraid of her leaving him turned to him leaving her. “I love you. I’ll never leave” turned into “ I can’t do this anymore” and they both pretended the way he said it didn’t sound the same way when he said; “this is the last box…then I’ll quit” when buying a pack of cigarettes they both knew wasn’t his last.
There are a hundred ways to say “I miss you” and she’s stumbling over every one and she realized she can only write about him so much before the only thing she can write about is the last time she saw him. People say “You’re only as good as the company you keep” so maybe that’s why she hasn’t been doing so well since he left her.
Additional Publications from the Memoir Series: