“I think I love you,” he whispered, his body heavy against mine. His words hung in the smoky air and gently floated into my ears and buried their meaning in my heart.
“I love you too,” I choked out, surprised that my words seemed coarse and emotionless. I had waited three years to hear those three tiny words that had the potential to change who I was.
With my eyes tightly shut hoping to capture this moment, I heard his voice. “I don’t want you to leave. Can’t you just stay?” He asked, his tight words pleading with me.
In that moment, our life flashed behind my closed lids. I could see his face as he waited for me at the end of a long white aisle rimmed with white lilies. His lips parted in a broad smile, and he reached out to take my trembling hand. I saw him guide me up the rocky path to our first front door and our next and our next. I saw a young boy with a smile modeled from his mouth, and a dark haired girl with a too loud laugh and liquid brown eyes that were his twin. We walked on a white beach, our hands knitted and our toes in clear blue waves. I watched as our fingers wrinkled and our faces became shadows of our young selves.
With my eyes closed, I lived a century worth of memories in an instant. What should I say? Would saying yes birth these memories for me to truly live and relish for always? Or would I ruin things like I always did? Would saying yes lead to pain and heartache from committing too young? Would our love grow only to be torn down in a rash of new construction? Would we end up a pile of shattered bricks that still harbored the ghosts of our love inside their crumbling mortar?
I slowly opened my eyes, feeling the weight of the moment, his words, his body waiting in anticipation.
I left the next day too afraid to destroy what we had, too afraid that after a week or two he would no longer want me and the joy of him would be diminished by the shadow of heartache. I walked away because I thought obligations at home should come before my happiness. I watched as Johnny slowly faded, his image getting smaller and smaller in the dusty bus window. I watched as the only person I had ever loved, will ever love, waved one last time.
This may sound familiar to many readers, but the story is what I know. I’m trying to find the right way to tell it. Thank you for reading.