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What About the Love That We Lost?

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The stage was cold and dark, no lights were on and the stage doors were open. The single bulb in the band hallway illuminated a small sliver of the stage. Tall dark, brooding. He held a guitar pick in his left hand, he wouldn’t need it, he doubted he could ever hear or play music in the same way again after yesterday. Dropping the pick on the floor he looked out at the dark side of the room. 

Everyone was gone by now, school had been out for hours. One step off the stage would surely break something at his age, but he couldn’t find the energy to walk down the steps and fully submerge himself in darkness. He’d always found it funny, how one moment could change a person's life so drastically. What would his wife say? What would his wife say? When he was with Jeff his heart felt lighter, his soul felt twenty years younger, he won’t recover from Jeff for a long time, and even then it will still hurt. He’s pulled from his thoughts by a light flicking on in the costume room,

“Sorry, I didn’t know you would be here”

His voice was tense, obviously, he didn’t want to be here. . . how could Jim be such an imbecile? He turned towards Jeff, the fluorescent light shown off his blonde hair and his tall determined stance told him that he wouldn’t be the one leaving. Jim shuffled farther away from Jeff into the band hallway, picking up the pick off the floor, holding it in his hands now, He realized that the color matched Jeff’s eyes. He stood still for a beat, leaning on the doorframe,

“I’m sorry”

Turning to look at Jeff, Jim almost dropped the pick, startled by the painfully familiar voice which seemed to be only a few steps in front of him now. Jeff’s silhouette was less dominating in the few steps he took towards him, now he almost looked regretful.

“Sorry for what?”

“I’m sorry for ignoring you today, I needed to get my thoughts straightened out”

Jim let out a small chuckle, straightened out there was nothing straight about this, Jeff continued,

“But I’m not all that sorry. For what I - We did.”

“What we did.”

“Yes, I don’t regret it if that’s what you’re thinking,”

“I’m not.”

“Good.”

They each stared the other down, waiting for the moment one of them flinched. Jeff flicked his eyes over Jim’s face for a few moments before looking down, spending more seconds than needed on his lips. Jim couldn’t keep his eyes off of Jeff, memorizing the small wrinkles and freckles all over Jeff’s face. If you had asked him to draw his face from memory the only thing you would need to worry about is how bad of an artist he is. Jeff looked back at Him.

“Do you . . . regret it?”

This threw the dark hair man off guard, he hadn’t known Jeff would be insecure about this or that he would even continue to talk to him at all.

“No! I mean, no. Why would I regret it? You’re the best person I’ve met in my whole life, how could I ever regret it?”

Jeff leans to each side a bit, shifting his weight over from each foot. Jim mimics him for a moment. Finally, after a disturbingly long amount of silence, Jeff speaks up,

“If everything was different, if we met under other circumstances, I would choose you. I really would. But these aren’t different circumstances and nothing is going to change anytime soon so . . . I thought I should be the one to tell you,”

Jim looks into his eyes, the windows to his soul, and his breath leaves his lungs. 

Leaving. 

Jeff was leaving him, leaving the school. He couldn’t believe it.

They had known each other for years, they ate lunch together, they made music together, they shared love and now Jeff was leaving? He came back to himself glancing at Jeff’s face one more time, he finally understood. They could never be together, they were never together, to begin with. 

Jim leaned down and brought his hands in front of his face, he stared at the scars, the blemishes, he raked his eyes over the spots where he would chew on his thumb. His own hands had never looked so foreign to him, he’d seen them his whole life, why did they look so wrong? Turning them over he drew his gaze toward the pick in his hand. He straightened his back out and looked back up at the man across from him, his face was a little distraught and his cheeks were rapidly gaining a red hue. Jim suddenly realized that he still hadn’t said anything,

“This pick reminds me of you, Jeff.”

Jeff looked at the pick held between Jim’s thumb and forefinger.

“I want you to have it. I want you to remember me.”

This made Jeff look at him with tears welling in his eyes,

“Jim, I’ll always remember you”

“I know, that’s why it hurts so much”

“Jim . . .”

“No, no. It was my mistake. I never should have assumed anything. Much less that you would throw everything away for me.”

Jeff finally met his eyes, they seemed like endless holes of nothingness, Jeff felt like he was frozen in time. He was the one making a mistake, he will never be happy without Jim, but it’s not fair and it would be selfish to take
his love all for himself. 

A bit of light leaves his eyes after another bout of silent sorrow then Jim takes a step away from Jeff, the door shuts in front of him. He mindlessly flicks the light switch off and he is shrouded in darkness yet again.

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