By Cirroco DeSade
I felt her staring at me earlier. I couldn't decide if it was wonderful or torture to know she still sees me. I saw him stand and I was sure she would leave with him. Who would have believed that this man I once called friend would pursue such a woman out of his league? Who would have believed she would have him?
It is better that way I suppose, even as I hate him for having what I cannot. What I will not. He has her affections, something I threw away much too easily. I'm not sure anymore if I was right when I did it. She makes me doubt myself, and she doesn't even know it. How would she feel if she knew? It doesn't matter because I cannot tell her.
I am so wrapped up in my inner turmoil that I did not see her approach. She asks politely if she can join me. I don't trust my own voice, and I finally nod, rather stupidly in my opinion. I often feel inept around her when I haven't been prepared to see her; when I haven't rehearsed my lines and reminded myself repeatedly why I wasn't allowed to approach her. Hah! I fool myself even now. Why haven't I responded to her quiet, shy overtures? That is the question.
"Do you want to talk about it?" she asks softly.
A rush of emotion almost betrays me. Of course I want to talk about it. The problem was I didn't know how. How do you bare your heart when you know it may be broken? Would telling her the truth, letting her in make the difference? Or would it simply seal my fate with her?
"No," I finally answer. "I'm fine." I lie.
What have I become?
Her eyes register her hurt and disappointment, but she is quick to hide it. She has gotten quite good at acting `appropriately' since she started seeing him. But I see the retreat coming. I want to shout out for her to stop. My heart pumps so hard in my chest, it feels like it might escape; a rush of adrenaline and fear course through me. What am I afraid of? That she will leave? I don't want her to leave. Or that she will stay and confront me? I almost wish she would.
"Very well," she answers me.
I don't know what to say. I am left staring at the table where my hands lay only centimeters from hers. If I could only reach out and touch her, tell her I am sorry. But I cannot. She is with someone else. I won't dishonor myself again.
Suddenly she is standing. Here is the retreat. A polite excuse: simply a need to get back to work. I know I am staring at her retreating form with dismay. I probably look like a kicked puppy. Then she is looking at me and I turn away in shame. I don't want her to see what I am sure is in my eyes.
"Take care," she tells me and then glides gracefully away.
As she disappears and the sliding doors cut away my view of her I feel warm tears spill over and onto both of my cheeks.
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