The waves have returned to their normal size. The sea air is temperate and the breeze, steady. The sun is where it is supposed to be at noon and people go about their lives on the beach. I walk on the sand in my sweat pants and tank top. My hair is blowing in my mouth and I am anything but ok. I went for days, if not weeks, not caring if I lost Chris. But now I have done too much damage and there is no turning back. It was almost like I had been testing myself these past few weeks…daring myself to see if I could be ok without him, and I kept being ok, so I kept going with the slow sabotage. But my mistake was that I wasn’t really without him. He had been mine, fighting for me the whole time so it wasn’t a true indication of life without him and now I wasn’t prepared for the shock of his true absence.
I find comfort in reminding myself that I am good at blocking out pain. I learned to stop the terrible thoughts after Meliah’s accident, so perhaps I will block him out too. The thought of this new added numbness is too much. I start to jog down the beach towards Lucy and Bobs house. I need to see Zoe for a hug. I need to tell Chris I love him one more time to make sure he knows I’m not complacent this time, to make sure he knows that if he will have me, that I won’t mess it up again.
I need for him to tell me that everything is going to be ok and that he is still there for me. As I get closer I see him alone on the sand looking at the ocean. He looks sad, untouchable. I walk slowly now and he looks up and sees me. The shock in his eyes surprises me too. He must have been thinking about me. He shakes his head and looks away. I stop. I’m not going to sit with him if I’m not welcome. I know he wants to talk to me, he loves me. Perhaps if I play the, turn and start to walk away game, he will stop me. But I don’t want to chance that. I stand on the sand and wait until he nods at me to come closer then I sit down next to him, relieved that I am allowed to be near him. I don’t want to say anything I case I am banished again.
“I wrote you a letter. It pretty much says it all” he says.
I know I don’t want to see that letter, his closure, his final decision perhaps. “I can’t bare this” I say.
“I can’t do this conversation again. This morning was enough. That’s why I wrote you the letter.”
“I feel really alone” I say.
“You’ve got Zoe, and your family, and a plethora of admirers to keep you company.”
“My life boat had already sunk, and you were my life jacket, I can’t do this life without you.” I stare at the waves with tears streaming.
“Stop trying to manipulate me with the victim speech. You are the one who threw your damn life jacket off.” He looks at me. “Maybe what you are feeling now is a tiny bit of what I have been feeling this past whole month. I have been panicking at you absence and met with your mild annoyance. Why do you care now?”
“Because I took you for granted but I realize now that I can’t live without you.”
“You can’t treat me like a toy.” He takes my hand and rubs it while he speaks. “I want you back,” he says. My heart starts to pound with happiness. “But I can’t do it.”
“Yes, you can” I say, crying.
He laughs incredulously. “No, I can’t.”
He looks at me longingly and I snap, “I’m not going to beg you forever.”
“I would never be fool enough to think you would.”
He takes the letter out of his pocket and hands it to me to me. It is folded like the notes I used to write in high school. I stare at it, not wanting to open it.
Then he hops up to standing and brushes off his shorts. His pocket buzzes and he takes out my phone. “Dave grabbed yours this morning by accident” he says, then looks at it. He shows me the number that is calling and I recognize it to be Jake’s. He sees my expression and puts my phone to his ear, “hello?”