They stood there for a time, the two girls, neither one moving …. just looking at each other like there was nothing more to say. And maybe there wasn't. Maybe all that needed to be said had already been voiced… or the importance it once had might have been forgotten. In either case, it wasn't there now, and they both knew it. And somehow that just made it feel worse.
She sighed quietly and lowered her eyes with a weary gesture of resignation. How had they ended up like this? How was it even possible? Things weren't meant to change this much. It wasn't supposed to be like that. Not for them. Ever.
It made her mind run full with aimless doubt and questions, as if wondering about what went wrong might somehow hold redemption for them still. Not so long ago there had been laughter and happy bantering between them. Nights of staying up far too late to look at the Moon and play “truth or dare”. They knew each other so well then. But that was all before they'd started growing apart.
She groaned and shook her head, not wanting her thoughts to go further down that route. Instead she turned her attention back to meet the gaze she had been trying so hard to avoid lately. She'd known this was coming for a while, yet it never failed to make her feel guilty. For all her best intentions and efforts she'd never quite managed to find something that she actually felt she should be sorry for. Even this painfully awkward moment had to be. She accepted that price. Maybe that was the problem…. Too easy to sell out and move on.
Why did goodbye's always have to be this hard? For that's exactly what this was, wasn't it? That moment in time when she knew that there really wasn't any going back and yet still she hesitated in turning and moving on. Almost as if it would be all her fault for killing it off completely if she were the first to turn away. So she waited. They both did. For nothing. Just waited. In that dead space of awkward silence. Until finally one of them, urged by sufficient bravery or desperation, couldn't stand it and uttered some some lame attempt at compassion without care to break the stand still.
“you take care of yourself, okay?” …. how many years down the drain with so little ceremony?
*nods* “yeah, I will. You too, alright?” …. how many, indeed?
“Sure. Keep in touch?” …. she never knew whether that was a question or a request. Either way she wasn't sure it mattered. Neither of them would….
“Sure. You too, okay?” …. enough with the mockery.
A sudden flood of regret welled up in her, making her reach out. The other hand was cold. Dead. Indifferent to her warm touch. It stung her more than she had expected. Part of her wanted to cry… to soften this impressionless face before her, crack its facade and force some kind of show of emotion into its features. Some kind of sign that at least once upon a time they had belonged together and felt alike. But it was too weak a part and so they remained as they were. Stoic.
Her hand fell back to her side and her eyes grew dull if not a little moist. She'd never imagined it would be this hard to let go. Was she clinging onto something, which had run its course for the sake of the memories? Or was she afraid to let go simply because it felt like losing something… regardless of whether she wanted and needed it anymore? The guilt and shame came welling back up in her instantly. Had she been so blind and careless that she had allowed herself to hold onto this even after she no longer really wished to keep it?
It took her a while to temper that notion with the reasoning and resolve that had originally led her to the conclusion that this had to happen. All the affection and need in the world could not make it up for lost love. They had grown too different and she knew it. There was nothing either of them could have done to stop it, and she hoped that neither of them would have even if they could. She had to believe that they would both be better off this way. This time they did both choke up and if words failed the looks exchanged said enough of the regrets and hopes for all things good they still harboured for one another.
As if spoken by one voice their words rose and ran together like water colours mixing in the air between them, softer and more tender than either of them had managed for some time, and a few tears, one each, fell along with them…
“I hope you'll be happy now,…. my friend. Please take good care of yourself wherever you go”
…. leaving the words hanging in the air long after she stepped back from the now darkened mirror.
There are times when I realize that a part of who I am is holding me back from really being me. Times when a trait or mentality I used to rely on so heavily in the past has grown to hinder rather than help me. Letting part of myself go to further the rest of me is something I used to find so easy. But it has gotten harder as I have grown older. Maybe I am more attached to all the quirks and oddities I have developed and leaned on over the years. Or maybe I am just more reluctant to have to give up one thing to gain another. Playing it safe? i hope not…
Whatever the case I would like to think that I am confident and strong enough to remember what I was once taught: to always be willing to sacrifice all that I am today for all that I can be tomorrow.
Remebering is one thing, though… living by it quite another.