Breaking hearts (short story)

She looked into his blue eyes, eyes that were always haunted and guarded, eyes that were always filled with pain.  The eyes that glared back at her, once warm and inviting, were cold and hard.  The kind smile that he used to have for her was gone.  His entire face was set like stone.  No trace of their friendship remained to warm his face.

“Leave me alone.  I don’t need or want you in my life anymore.”

The ice in his deep voice cut her straight to her heart making her stagger back from him in pain.  Tears threatened to fall from her eyes but she fought them back.  She didn’t want him to see her cry.  She had been hurt by much worse people in her life, but she had never been hurt by a person she cared for as much as she cared for him.  She could feel her heart shatter as the finality of his words sunk in.  She reached out a hand to his chest.  She wanted to feel his heartbeat to make sure that he still had a heart.  He stepped back from her as if her touch burned him.

“Where did my best friend go,” she asked him, barely above a whisper.

“He’s gone.  I’ve spent too long screwing up my life and taking advice from you about how to fix it without listening to any of it.  My life is all fucked up now and I need to fix it, but I need to do this alone.  This is not about you.  Just leave me alone.”

She cringed, his words like a slap across her face.  “This isn’t about me,” she asked him, her voice suddenly cold as her anger flared.  “You stand there in front of me and tell me to leave you alone, that you don’t want or need me anymore, and then you dare say that this isn’t about me?  It wasn’t about me until you said that.  You are my best friend,” she yelled at him, her tears flowing freely.  “You are like a brother to me.  I have been there for you every fucking time that you have called, because that is what a friend does.  A person does not pick and choose when it’s convenient for them to be a friend.  A friend does not throw someone away the way you are doing to me right now.”  Turning her back to him she buried her face in her hands and fought back a rage-filled scream.

“I appreciate everything you have done for me over the last few years.”

Spinning back around to face him she level her eyes at him.  Anger and betrayal filled her voice as she spit her words at him.  “Fuck you.  You don’t appreciate anything I’ve done for you.  You took and took and took until you didn’t need me anymore.  Now that I have nothing left to offer you I’m out.  That’s how it works with you, isn’t it?”

“You’re making too much out of this,” his voice calm and detached as he stood in front of her, his arms folded across his chest in a show of detached defiance.

“Do not ever tell me how to feel.  My best friend just told me that he doesn’t need me anymore, and then he says that I am overreacting by getting upset.  I think I am allowed to overreact just a little bit.  I gave you my heart the day we became friends and you just killed it.  I don’t know who you are anymore.”

“Neither do I,” he mumbled to himself.

“I want my friend back.  You can take the selfish asshole that you’ve become and go to hell.”  Her eyes glared with fire as she stared at him daring him to say anything back to her.  “I don’t need or want you in my life anymore,” she growled and watched him recoil from her.

“You are a heartless bitch,” he whispered, his gaze cast to the floor between them.

Stepping so close to him that her body was almost touching his she forced him to meet her fierce stare.  “You made me this way,” she spat.

“I just need to do this alone.”

“Well, you certainly guaranteed that, didn’t you?  Go off and find yourself.  I hope your solitude is what makes you happy.  Finding happiness is all I ever wanted for you.”

“I never wanted to hurt you,” he said to her gently, his eyes pleading with her for understanding.

“Well then I guess you failed, because you did hurt me.”

He tried to pull her into a hug.  She fought against herself to fall into his open arms, to lay her head against his chest, to close her eyes and breathe in his familiar and comforting scent.  His arms wrapped around her rigid body while her arms remained at her sides.

“You were a great friend to me,” he whispered as his cheek rested on top of her head.  “You have always meant so much to me.”

“Then why don’t you want me in your life anymore,” she pleaded, anger falling away from her as the comfort of their friendship rush back into her heart.

“It’s just time for me to be alone now.”

She reached her arms up, slowly placed her hands on his chest, took a deep breath and pushed herself out of his final embrace.

“Being alone doesn’t fix your problems.  Being alone just helps you hide from them.”

They stood apart, the distance between them was a chasm that neither could find a reason to close.  Their silence was filled with the memories of laughter and tears, the ghost of their friendship.  He cast his eyes to the floor as if looking into the past then slowly slid his gaze up to meet hers.

“Goodbye.”

He turned and walked away.

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