In a concrete jungle, they had found love, their eyes first meeting the day she had discovered her neighborhood library. She walked in excited to have found a place where she could feel comfortable and at home. Since her move into the big city, she had yet to feel either. There was always something amazing about being surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. It was as if you were surrounded by so many different lives, being fictitious or not. She entered the library and walk towards the right heading towards the fiction section comma and that’s when she had spotted him. He obviously worked or volunteered there. His ID dangled around his neck while he sorted away the books on each shelf. Her heart jumped a little. Weird how that happened. He was cute …and tall …and mysterious …but there was something else about him. She didn’t know what it was but it was like a magnet.
Whenever she wasn’t at work she was at the library. What was there to do at home anyways? There was no internet and there was no cable, which meant all she had where her books. Some days he was there. Some days he wasn’t. By the second week of her routine visits, they had become friendly. They greeted each other with a warm smile and a nod, and soon it became a full-on wave with a, “Hey how’s it going?!“
Eventually exchanging phone numbers, they began to get to know each other. Their text messages were more silly than they were flirtatious. She absolutely loved that. They chatted throughout the day about anything and everything. It was not only easy to talk with him but it was also exciting. They could go from cracking jokes one second to a conversation on aliens and alternate dimensions the next. This was why, although she ended up finding out he was 4 years her junior when he asked her out to dinner, she happily said yes.
He picked her up in his old school El Camino. Her heart melted and it was from that night that the two were inseparable. Absolute best friends from the very beginning, they couldn’t have been any more compatible with one another. But sometimes, just because the yin had found its yang, that didn’t mean that their coming together would last forever. Throughout the time that they were building what could have been an everlasting and loving relationship, life behind the scenes wasn’t working out too well for her. Life in the big city had been rough and expensive. The jobs she was able to get hired for simply didn’t pay enough to cover her rent and utilities, let alone make enough for food and savings. It was a real struggle to make ends meet and the stress and anxiety would eat her up alive at night when her thoughts would run around her mind like wild horses. It was only when they were together that she felt something other than pain and heartache. He made her feel good.
They were sitting at one of their favorite burger spots. It was a beautifully sunny day and only she knew how sad of a day it was about to turn into. As they waited for their number to be called, he sat across from her telling her all about the first half of his day. They sat there in the booth on his lunch break, him chatting away while she barely listened. All she could hear were the roaring waves of sadness that were ripping apart her heart.
“Babe, are you listening? I know you’re not because that was funny and you’re not laughing.” He grinned at her. Man did she love those dimples.
“I’m moving back home in 2 weeks.” It came out barely a whisper. He just stared at her, at first making her believe that he hadn’t heard her. She didn’t know if she had the courage to say it once again but she soon realized that she wasn’t going to have to. His eyes misted over and as the lady working the counter called out their number, neither of them moved.
We never ate the burgers. We never even claimed them. Our hearts sunk deep into our bellies, heartbreak oozing into our souls. We spent as much time together as we could. We revisited our favorite places together. I went with him on his runs at the park (he ran while I waited on the sidelines). We hugged. We kissed. We cried. On our very last night together we laid on his bed in darkness our heads down towards the opposite end, and while staring up into the ceiling, we listened to all our favorite songs. Both of us being such great lovers of Motown, we listened deep into the night and I will never forget the last song we listened to. As if the Universe knew what we were going through, Kiss and Say Goodbye by The Manhattans came on and as if a switch had turned on, tears pooled into the corners of my eyes and overflowed, rolling past my temples and into my hair. The amount of sadness that was burying itself deep within my throat was overwhelming, so much so that it had sent me into a daze. The one last kiss as I left his bedroom, the one last handhold as I walked out of his front door, the one last hug before getting into the car, the last drive I’d take with him in his El Camino and the last time I would watch him drive away as he waved his last goodbye… I can’t even describe the feeling of what it was like to leave that piece of my heart behind.
I heard the song today and just like any other time I hear it, my heart smiled. Although it was so painful to leave before the relationship had a real chance to fully blossom, I love knowing that I got to experience such love in only just a few short months. I got to experience what felt like an entire lifetime in love and the memories of all that we shared will forever be in bloom, my heart a basket containing every petal.