We drove in silence; it had been hours since we had last spoken. His hands were clutching the wheel as my forehead stayed pressed against the window. I couldn't help but think about how we had gotten to this. So very broken. Our last words hung in the air between us, constant reminders of the shattered relationship that lay behind us.
"Will you ever grow up?!" I was throwing my clothing into a bag, stuffing everything in as fast as I could. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see straight. I just needed out. "You live in this fantasy that you can't screw up, that no matter what you do to me- that- that I will always take you back. You slept with my best friend!" I was staring at him, tears threatening to shatter my carefully composed face. I blinked them back fiercely; I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry. "How dare you...I-I just. I hate you."
He stared blankly at me, just blinking. I couldn't believe the words that had left my mouth. I hate you. But in that moment, I believed I did. I fully believed every part of it. I hated what he did, who he did it with. I hated how he had broken my heart. I hated how he thought I would shrug, tell him it was all okay, and continue on with life as if he had done nothing.
"You can't just leave." He said it so simply, almost matter-of-factly. "We paid for this vacation...we should take this time to work through this littleproblem. We can move on." He was walking toward me, reaching for my hand, and my instincts told me to slap him. But I refrained.
"Don't. Even. Touch. Me." I could feel the venom of my words sinking into him as his face fell. "You can stay here. Why don't you call her to stay with you? I'm sure she'd jump at the chance..." I was reaching for my purse; I could see the end of this in sight. "Least this time it wouldn't be behind my back."
I could see the pain register in his eyes. He had met me soon outside to drive us home. He hadn't wanted to stay when he realized I had been serious about leaving.
And I know it's long gone,
And that magic's not here no more,
And I might be okay,
But I'm not fine at all.
How did we get here? How had we gotten so far away from those two people who were so in love?
'Cause there we are again on that little town street.
You almost ran the red 'cause you were looking over me.
Wind in my hair, I was there, I remember it all too well.
That was the moment he realized he had loved me. He had been so focused on my laugh and the silly story I had been trying to tell. He was staring at me with such a complex mix of emotions in his eyes. At the very last minute his eyes had flicked back to the road, and suddenly we were skidding to a halt.
"You almost ran that lig-" I had barely gotten the words out before his fingertips were sliding down the side of my face.
"I love you." He had said it so simply; as if it was a truth he had known his whole life. As if it had been said a thousand times before... My heart was beating so hard I half expected him to hear it.
"Y-you do?" It was the only words I could think of to say, and I silently slapped myself for not saying those three words back to him. I loved him, I did. I knew I had since our second date.
His head was tilting in confusion, and I could see pain registering in his eyes. Oh no, he didn't think I felt the same.
"I love-e you too." I squeaked the words out, whisper-soft. "I have since our second date."
I found myself sighing against the window, my warm breath fogging my vision and it snapped me back to reality.
Autumn had always been my favorite season. The crisp smell of leaves mixed so perfectly with the warm smell of a fall day fire. I had fallen in love with him during the fall; I had fallen hard and fast for the boy with a smile that felt like summer.
Oh, your sweet disposition and my wide-eyed gaze.
We're singing in the car, getting lost Upstate.
Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place,
And I can picture it after all these days.
We had been on the search for the perfect pumpkin- my sides were killing me and tears streaked my face. He had spilled his hot cider down his jeans and was silently cursing on the side of the road.
He had jerked the car to the right to miss a small rabbit crossing the street causing us to miss our turn. But the rabbit was safe, and well, to me that meant more than a turn. But the motion of the car had caused him to spill his beloved drink.
We had searched high and low for just the perfect cider...he was so silly that way. Those were the moments I would miss the most...
Photo album on the counter, your cheeks were turning red.
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-size bed
And your mother's telling stories about you on the tee ball team
You tell me 'bout your past, thinking your future was me.
We spent more nights then I could remember reliving silly moments for the past. You knew more about me then I knew about myself. I could write a story about your life, I know you that well. I can easily recall your favorite childhood story, the name of your stuffed animal, your favorite color, and your most embarrassing moment. But it all feels so insignificant now. You were my future, and I knew you had felt the same. Where did it all fall apart?
'Cause there we are again in the middle of the night.
We dance around the kitchen in the refrigerator light
Down the stairs, I was there, I remember it all too well, yeah.
I had to put on my sunglasses. I felt the tears threatening to fall once more. The memories were too much too handle.
Time won't fly, it's like I'm paralyzed by it
I'd like to be my old self again, but I'm still trying to find it
After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own
It's been a few weeks since that drive home and I have been living in our apartment alone, he has moved back home to stay with his parents. And it is late at night; it's the moments like this that hurt the most. Lying on the couch all alone during a storm, and I'm feeling lonelier than I realized I would. It feels like I have lost a bigger part of myself than I knew I would.
Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much,
And maybe this thing was a masterpiece 'til you tore it all up.
Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well.
But here you stand, at my door in the rain. I can tell you have been standing out there for a while, and I can see it in your eyes that you have been just as lost. I don't speak, I can't...I'm just staring at you- waiting for some sort of explanation as to why you are here.
"I'm sorry, I know it will never be enough, and I know you deserve much more than an 'I'm sorry' too many weeks too late. You deserve a guy who wouldn't cheat, one who would fight to keep you...not a guy who ran back to his parents with his tail tucked. I shouldn't have thought you would just forgive me without any work on my end...I was stupid to think that you could forgive me at all." He was staring down at his feet, and in that moment I knew this was the truth. That he had finally come to realize all the things I had tried to tell him...he couldn't fake this type of emotion.
"I know I am the last person you want to see, and I can't blame you for it...but I needed you to know that I have loved you this whole time. I needed you to know that I realized what I lost, and that it will haunt me forever. But the most important thing you need to know is that I am sorry...and that I have never meant it more than I do now."
I could feel my heart stop; I could feel the sobs catching in my throat. He was turning to walk back through the rain when I heard my own voice call his name, "Ross...wait!"
And there it was- that smile that reminded me of summer time. He knew I hadn't forgiven him...that I wasn't calling his name because I was taking him back. But in that instance we both felt the hope of finding our way back to each other.
Wind in my hair, you were there, you remember it all
Down the stairs, you were there, you remember it all
It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well