Sitting outside the café with the sun on her face and the cracked pavement beneath her feet, she could feel the desolation and despair creeping in like an unwelcome intruder. She tried so hard to fight it back, but Heather’s willpower and her heart were at odds with each other. Deep down she knew nothing ever came from giving in to the painful memories, but her heart craved the comfort that came from giving in, because with it, came him.
It had been over a year since she last spoke to him. She kept hoping that one day she would check her email and discover an email from him, telling her why he disappeared and that he was coming back. She had imagined the reunion so many times. Yet, she knew it would never happen. Every time she felt she had come to terms with his absence, she would see something else that would drag her down.
Today, it was a car that looked like his car. When Heather saw the car stopped at the stop sign two streets up from where she was stopped, her heart started racing. When her light turned green and she pulled passed the car, she saw that it was not his car. It didn’t even look like it when she got close and it was driven by a little gray-haired woman. Then the tears came. So strong that she had to stop and gather her thoughts.
But she didn’t gather her thoughts, she just stared at her drink she wouldn’t drink and told herself to stop thinking about him. That’s when the melancholy took over. It oozed up her body from the deepest recesses of her soul like an inky-black ocean and washed over her with icy despair.
Then the release came and she was transported back to the day they met. It was a day like any other day—nothing special to mark it as the day that her life would change. She had woken up, jogged a mile, showered, dressed, and drove the short distance into work, just as she did every morning. With her mind on her work and nothing more, she was unsure why she had looked up. Then she saw him. Suddenly, she knew she had looked up because he had been looking at her, even though he was deep in conversation with her supervisor. Who was this guy? Beautiful and charming, that she could gather from clear across the room. Then he smiled and her supervisor laughed. Her supervisor never laughed. Was he witty to boot? Now, she must meet him!
She got up on the pretense of going to the break room to refill her coffee mug. (Oh god…why was she using the stupid “No coffee, no workie” mug?) She walked straight passed him, trying not to look at him, but their eyes met and he flashed her a devastating smile. His brown eyes were mesmerizing. How she made it to the break room, she’s not sure, but her tactic worked. Just a few seconds after she had entered the break room, he sauntered in. Heather’s lips curled in a smile, just remembering that moment.
“Hi, my name’s Hendrix,” he said, holding out his hand. “I’ll be working the national news desk.”
“Um, Heather, weather,” she giggled. “Your name’s really Hendrix?”
“Yup, my parents were…well…fans, Heather Weather,” he chuckled.
That was the moment that they “clicked.” They had talked about how they never “clicked” with anyone. That’s why Heather was still single at her age.
Their friendship grew quickly and soon they were spending just about every waking moment with each other. After a few months, they decided to move in with each other. Heather’s brow furrowed at this last thought.
Then, one day, a few weeks before she was set to move into his house with him, Hendrix called her and said they needed to talk right away. The tone of his voice made her nervous. He sounded almost angry, but maybe it was nervous. She had never heard his voice sound that way. He was always so laid back, so calm.
When he rang her doorbell, she let him in. Without any preamble whatsoever, he burst out, “I have to leave now.” He paced the floor like a caged animal. Something was clearly wrong with him.
Scared and dumbfounded, she said, “But you just got here.”
“No, not your home. Here, this town. This state. I have to leave.” She spent the next hour trying to understand what he meant, but he just kept telling her he couldn’t explain any further. She pleaded for him to stay, but he said he couldn’t. Then, abruptly, he stood up, grabbed his jacket, and headed for the door.
“Wait!” she screamed, by now she was trembling from head to toe, “what if I come with you?”
With that, his face softened and his resolve melted. “You can’t,” he said softly, with tears in his eyes. “I can’t explain, but just know that I don’t want to leave you. I will be back as soon as I can, if I can.”
“Okay, I guess. I’ll wait for you, will you be long?”
“I don’t know how long I will be. Don’t wait for me. Live your life.” With that, he kissed her forehead gently and quietly stole out of the front door, out of her life.