She thought about him so many times, she lost count long ago. Every time feeling more guilty, more remorseful for what she did. She thought about him every time she was alone, evert time some little thing reminded her of him, every time she let her mind run free, even if for only a few moments. Her mind would go running to him, like it needed to do that because she didn’t want to forget any detail, she needed to do that in order to survive. Although there were days when she wanted to forget him, his physical absence wasn’t enough. He was as alive as ever in her. Every night, when she lay down on her bed, after yet another exhausting day, he was there. It was enough to close her eyes to imagine he was sitting next to her, looking at her, with his charming smile, his eyes telling her how much he loved her, how much he wanted her. She almost felt his smell, although it vanished long ago from her pillow, the touch of his fingers caressing her skin.
She often thought about what he was doing, in this big world, apart from her. In the evening, when she poured herself a well-deserved glass of whiskey and finally took her shoes off and put her legs up on the table, she inevitably thought of him. He used to sit like this, with his legs up, on her table. She used to gave him a disapproving look, then smile and cuddle next to him, resting her head on his chest. Used to…it was so painful using this word, she used to know him, he used to be hers, maybe they even used to love each other.
She often wondered if he was thinking about her, just like she does now, if he moved on with his life fast or if he still waited for her for a while, hoping that she will change her mind, that she will one day show up at his front door and tell him what he wanted to hear, that she does in fact wants to go away with him, that she does love him and wants to marry him. Other times she thought that he must have moved on with his life, in all fairness almost a year had passed, only in her imagination was he still alone, waiting for her, probably another woman entered… She never quite finish that thought, but she always imagined how that woman would be like, how that woman surely offered him what she never could.
And now she is sitting here, alone, at this table with this red annoying light surrounding her, penetrating her eyes. That and the few glasses of wine she drank while waiting made her a little dizzy and afraid of what she was about to do.
Jack didn’t meant anything to her, she knew that. Jack was only a distraction, Jack was her way of trying to prove to herself that she has gotten over him. She wanted to believe that another man’s touch would forever erase all of his touches, that another man’s whispers, will erase his ruff voice, his reverent words whispered in the darkness. Deep down she knew it, she knew that no man could do that. He was the best she’d ever had and no one would ever erase their story. No one could erase his touches, they were scratched on the surface of her skin and deep into her soul, she knew that no one could ever replace him, she knew it with the same certainty she knew she made the biggest mistake of her life the moment she decided to let him go.
Maybe it was better this way. Better for him. To find happiness with someone else, to have the opportunity to find the right woman for him. And yet, her body, her mind, her soul, her whole being ached for him, often she longed for him so desperately that she only wished to see him, just once. Even from far away. Every time she walked the court’s halls she felt the hope rising in her, she hoped that maybe this was the day, the day she will just bump into him or even see him from the distance. Maybe this was the day when the prosecution would call him as witness, maybe she would just see his name on the list of witnesses, maybe they will lay eyes on each other in the restaurant where they bought often ate. Maybe…But it never happened. There were days when she would catch a glimpse of a silver haired man or a man with a brown jacket passed by and her heart stopped for a second every time.
She stares at the phone, unsure of what her actions should be and finally the need to just see him wins and her hand reaches and grabs the phone fast, as if she is afraid not to rethink this. She looks straight ahead, wondering if this is the right thing to do, afraid that he might reject her now, after a year of silence. She has to stop her mind, so in one quick motion she unlocks her phone and dials his number. For a moment she feels like she can’t breathe, her heart pounding louder and faster than ever, she thinks that he could actually hear her heart through the phone. She thought about this moment so many times, and yet she still has no idea what will she say to him.
“You’ve reached the voicemail of Kurt McVeigh”.
She was probably crazy. She had to be. What sane woman would take a cab for a 40 miles drive to the house of a man she hadn’t seen in a year? Who would do such a thing? What was wrong with her? But this need, this need that she fought for as long as she could made her do this insanity. He knew nothing about his current life, for all she knew, he could even be married. It was a long drive, and all through it she felt her heart in her throat. Now there was no turning back it was too little, too late. She was doing this. She was almost there.
She missed the road to his farm. She used to love driving there, knowing that he will be waiting for her at the end of the trip. She was looking through the window, seeing the trees passing in front of her eyes one by one, and with them so many memories. Oh my God, she was almost there. She felt her body slightly trembling. The car stopped in front of his house. Initially, she thought that maybe it would be wise to tell the driver to wait, in case he won’t be home, but seeing the light inside made her brave enough to let the car go.
Outside, in the freezing air, she took a few deep breaths as she watched his house and started walking with slow, heavy steps, searching through her foggy mind how to begin, what she should tell him. She never did something like this before. Usually, men would show up at her door unannounced, not the other way around.
She stopped in front of the door, inhaled deeply, then raised her hand to knock, but the hand just stood there, hanging in the air. Don’t overthink, don’t overthink, just do it. And then her hand hit the cold wood of the door, while her heart was pounding like a thunder in her chest. She heard the door opening and she raised her eyes, holding her breath.
But she just stood there, not understanding what’s going on. This young woman, with beautiful red hair opened the door and she was staring at her, waiting patiently to see what she needs. For a moment nothing in her mind made sense. He moved? What the hell… Later she would think how naïve she was, thinking that he would rather move, than be with another woman. Naive or just really sure of herself, of them, without really having a reason to be.
But this was crazy, she was just coming from a date and she was surprised that he could date someone. She felt like laughing for a second. This was all so fucked up. The girl invited her in, but she hesitated, this was awkward, she felt like running back, but now she would have to come inside. And as she raised her eyes, she saw him. He was here, still in his house, still with his beer in his hand, his fire burning slowly, another woman in her place, but did she ever really had a place in his life, did their relationship came to a point in which she could consider that she was his and now she was replaced? No, not really. Yes, he propose, he wanted her just for himself, he wanted to make a life together…Maybe if she would just said a word, just “Stay” would have probably been enough for him to change his plans. But she didn’t.
Their eyes locked, neither one of them knowing what to say. After a few moments she heard her name falling of his lips. She craved hearing her name in his voice for far too long…“Diane”. Nobody pronounced it quite like him and that made it even more special.
“After what, a year? You just happened to be in the neighbourhood?”
This was getting more and more awkward. Yes, she deserved this. But she felt so vulnerable, she missed him so much, that those words, in that moment really hurt, although she was trying her best to put her brave, cool face and make a quick exist, before she would start to cry, she knew that he had already read her perfectly. Why? Why didn't she made the taxi driver wait?
As strange as all this felt, it was enough for him to ask her to stay and she did. How desperate was she if she would want to stay even if he was at what seemed to be maybe a date? She was hopeless and part of her hated the way she lost all of her strength around him, yet part of her loved it.