They sat in his car, drowning in the silence. He was waiting for her to pour out the words she needed to tell him. It was cold in the car, the heater having not yet overcome the frigid January air. Her body trembled with nervous fear that numbed her to the frosty bite of winter.
“We could go back into the store,” he suggested between chattering teeth. “It’s a lot warmer in there.” He stared at her, hope barely masking the confusion on his face.
Despite the cold her palms were sweaty. Her heart raced and screamed at her to not say the words that her mind was hell-bent on getting out. She took a deep breath, the exhale making a cloud in the cold air between them. She looked into his beautiful hazel eyes, trying to get one last memory of him before his eyes turned hard and hateful against her. She hesitated. She knew what her words would do to him, but she was ready to live with the consequences.
“I consider the day I met you to be one of the greatest days of my life,” she started weakly. “There was just something about you that pulled me to you. I could feel fate pushing me to you in a way that I had never felt before.”
“Watching me play my drums got you all hot and excited,” he joked, trying to lighten her mood. She gave him a half-hearted smile.
“We became friends and I thought that was all I would ever be to you. I also thought I was alright with just being friends. You make me smile and laugh. You let me watch you play and be your groupie fangirl. I love being with you when we go out for lunch.”
She suddenly went silent. She knew she could still put the brakes on the rollercoaster in her head. She knew she could give him a smile and a hug and everything would be alright. But she also knew that everything wouldn’t be alright. He would go back inside to work and she would go home with a heart that still ached for him. She knew that she had to stop the ache and the only way to do that was to break her own heart, and his. She knew she had to let him go.
“I’m glad we’re friends, also,” he assured her as he searched her eyes for what she was hiding from him.
“The thing is,” she whispered, her head hanging low and her hair hiding her face, “I want more than just friends. I want more than just lunch and a hug. I want more than to be your groupie fangirl. I want to be with you, Bobby.”
He sighed and leaned back against his door. She stared at him, searching his face for what she hoped he would say. Instead she saw the wall come down between them. His truth hung in the air between them like a oppresive weight. It stabbed at her heart. Her tears froze in her eyes in the cold car and all she wanted to do was run away from him. She wanted to take her words back and bury them in her frozen heart and run away from him until she no longer loved him.
“Heather, I will always consider you a friend. I appreciate all of your support when you come out to watch me play. I can’t give you what you want though. I just don’t see you that way. I’m sorry. But we’ll always be friends.”
He opened his arms to her for a hug. Her body longed to fall into his warm and comfortable embrace. She wanted to lay her head on his chest, close her eyes, and listen to the steady, strong beat of his heart. She silently wondered if it would calm the frantic speed of her own heart.
She didn’t move. She couldn’t move. There was no turning back from what her heart had started. She got into his car with a goal of easing her aching heart. She had only broken it more, but she knew that the only way out was to keep moving forward.
Pain and rejection crossed his face as his arms fell to his lap. She could see that he knew she wasn’t done, and it killed her to know that he knew what was coming.
“You’ve never rejected a hug from me before.”
“I can’t do this anymore, Bobby,” she said weakly as she cast her eyes to the floor. Her fingers tangled nervously in her hair. Her heart pounded in her chest as frightened adrenaline surged through her chest. She wondered how much a heart could take before it finally just exploded.
“You can’t do what anymore? Please tell me that you can’t stay in this car anymore,” he joked, trying to distract her from herself. “I’m freezing. Can we please go inside. If we are friends at all you will let us go in the store where it is warm.”
“I can’t do this anymore, Bobby.”
He searched her face, but she kept it hidden behind her hair. “What are you talking about, Heather?”
A tear slid down her cheek as the words slid from her mouth. “I don’t think I can be your friend anymore.” She felt her heart shatter in her chest. She wanted to scream at herself to shut up, to beg him to ignore the words she had just said, to fall into his hug and pretend that nothing was wrong with her. All of that would have been easier than leaving the truth her mouth had just spoken between them.
“Are you having some weird girly moment,” he laughed nervously. “Do I need to give you chocolate and back away slowly? You are crazy, but that’s why we’re friends.” The smile fell from his lips when he saw her tears. “You aren’t kidding, are you?”
She just shook her head slowly.
“You’re serious, aren’t you?”
She nodded her head. There was no turning back.
“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore, Heather? This is exactly why I never trust people,” he growled.
She watch anger tighten his body as he closed himself off to her. His arms folded across his chest as a shield against her. She had expected his reaction, but it was still painful to witness.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you, Bobby. That was the last thing I ever wanted to do to you. I know that you don’t trust people as a rule and that you believe that everyone is going to hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you. But what about all the times you have hurt me?”
“I have never intentionally hurt you,” he spat at her, his voice filled with ice and venom.
“Maybe not intentionally, but I have cried over you more times than you will ever know.”
“It’s not my fault you are so sensitive.”
“You’re right. It’s not your fault. But what is your fault is your callous, selfish, insensitive heart. You claim to be so lonely, but you push away everyone who tries to climb over your wall. You do it because you think you are protecting yourself from getting hurt.”
“I should have protected myself from you. Then we wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”
“Yeah, because a life spent alone is so much better than a life spent with someone who cares about you,” she threw at him, sarcasm dripping from every word.
“You’re right. It is. I wish I’d never met you,” he spit at her hatefully, his eyes holding hers in a vice grip.
All of the air was forced from her body as his words hit her like bricks. She felt like she had been slapped across the face. All she could do was stare at him with anger and disbelief.
“In all the moments that you made me angry or cry I never,” she raged at him, “never wished I hadn’t met you.”
“Then why don’t you want to be friends anymore,” he begged her, momentarily allowing his broken heart to show.
“Because I love you, Bobby. I fell in love with you so fast and so hard.” She tried reaching out a hand to touch him. She wanted to ease his heart, and her own also.
“Don’t fucking touch me,” he yelled at her as he jerked his body away from her touch.
“Bobby, please believe that I never wanted to hurt you,” she pleaded.
“Yeah, well, you did hurt me. I hope you are happy with yourself. You made me trust you. You made me believe that you were different from everybody else in my life. I should have known better. You can bet that is a mistake I will never make again.”
She took a deep breath and fought to keep control over everything that was rushing through her. She bit back her words of anger. She swallowed the sad pleas for forgiveness.
“I love you, Bobby. I want nothing more than to see you happy . . . “
“What would make me happy is if you got out of my car.”
” . . . but trying to make you happy is eating me alive. I’ve lost myself in your world. You hold my heart, Bobby, but it means nothing to you. You said so yourself that you don’t love me.”
“Did you want me to lie to you?”
“Your truth would have come out eventually, just as mine did. Actually, I think I’ve always known that you never loved me, that you never could. I don’t know if you can love anyone, because love involved trust . . . “
“. . . and nobody can be trusted,” he finished for her, “including you.”
“I’m sorry that you feel that way about me. I tried to be the person that helped rebuild your trust in people. Would you rather I had lied to you today?”
“I’d rather you get out of my car. I don’t need you. I never needed you. Get out!” His rage boiled just below the surface of his control.
“Bobby, please listen to me,” she begged.
“Get out of my fucking car!”
“I’ll remind you that you had a choice whether or not to befriend me.”
“I never had a choice. You forced your way into my life.”
“The night we met you could have let my leave and never said a word to me, but you did say something. Do you remember what you said to me?” Bobby stared at her with fire in his eyes and ice in his heart. “Do you remember what you said,” she prodded.
“I said ‘I thought we were friends,'” he mumbled, casting his gaze out the window, “but that is not the foundation for a friendship.”
“No, but it was all the encouragement that I needed. A while later I sent you that message on Facebook. You could have ignored me, but you didn’t. You wanted us to be friends as much as I did.”
“Yeah, and look at where it got me. We were friends and now you don’t want to be anymore. I should have ignored you.”
“Bobby, I know that somewhere inside of you there is a heart, and I know it is hurting right now. For that I am very sorry. I have to do this for me though. I hurt every single day because I love you and I can’t stop it. I am tired of wishing and hoping for something that will never happen. You are not the only one who is hurting me, Bobby. I am hurting myself and I’ve got to stop it.”
“And you called me selfish,” he mumbled, his face still turned toward the window and away from her.
“I’m sorry that you feel that way,” she said softly, sadly. “If I don’t do it this way then I would have eventually started to hate you. I never want to look back and hate you. You mean too much to me.”
“That’s too bad because all I will see when I look back is the cold, heartless, bitch that you turned out to be”
“It didn’t have to be like this, Bobby.”
“Yes, it did, Heather. We were always destined to end up here.”
She opened her arms to him, hoping for one last hug. He stared at her coldly.
“Get out of my car. You are no longer welcome in my life.” The finality in his voice cemented closed the fate that she had set in motion.
“Bobby . . . “
“Get out,” he demanded.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she fought back fresh tears. She looked at him for a minute longer, hoping he would turn his eyes her way one last time, but he didn’t. He kept his face turned away from her and that would be her last memory of him.
She reached for the handle and opened the door. The cold January night air bit at her tears. She stepped out of the car and closed the door gently. He never turned to look at her.
“I’m sorry, Bobby,” she whispered into the frozen night wind. She hoped that one day her words would find their way to his heart.
She got into her own car and drove away for the final time from the music store that he worked at. She hoped that store would bring him as much solace as it had brought him joy since she’d met him. She turned out of the parking lot into the road. She glanced into her rearview mirror hoping for one last glimpse of him. She never noticed the oncoming traffic until it was too late.
The truck his her in the driver’s side door. She was killed on impact.
Bobby went back into the store. He never turned around at the sound of the car accident, and he never thought of Heather ever again.
By: Carrie Leigh
This short story actually ended up being a bit prophetic. This is essentially how the conversation went with the drummer a week ago minus the car accident and death. I wrote this back in January and lost it. I forgot about it until I found it in one of my MANY notebooks a few days ago. It freaked me out just a bit at how similar this story was to how the actual conversation ended up going a month and a half after I wrote this.