He’d Walked Away

I drift.

I’m with a guy. He’s special to me. We’ve known each other for a while and today, just this morning, we decided to be a couple. We’ve spent all day together and I’ve enjoyed every minute with him; laughing, holding hands, and kissing.

We enter a building, head upstairs and go through double-pane glass doors that lead out to an expansive balcony; a twenty by twenty square with walls around the three open sides, only about chest high, so that we can look out at the view around us. He kisses me again as we walk around the various pots and raised beds filled with subtle beauty; small flowers, ground coverings, and green plants spill out of the dark, rich soils. With the soft quiet light of evening and the feng shui inspired design of the pathways winding through the flowers and benches, it feels so peaceful.

We are hand in hand casually flirting, alone on that patio when one of the glass doors whooshes open. I look, and my breath catches. The man that walks through doesn’t seem to even notice who I hold hands with or that I hold hands with anyone, for that matter. He looks directly at me – sees only me.

My heart that beat in a giddy way moments earlier with the man I committed to mere hours before, begins to gallop so hard at the sight of the man who has just walked back into my life. I can practically feel the push and pull of blood coursing through my veins, trying to keep up with the unrealistic demands coming from the beating in my chest.

The fact that he’s come, speaks volumes. We were a couple not that long ago, though the word couple doesn’t feel right. It’s too middle school. Soul mates seems cliché and overused, but it’s closer I guess, because what we had together was intense and incredibly powerful; the pull toward each other, the compassion… everything.

The power of it had terrified us both. And he’d walked away.

I let go of my newest flame’s hand – leave him standing uncertain and watching as I walk away from him toward the opening doors, where the man who holds my gaze, walks – his stride purposeful and confident – to meet me.

His eyes say everything. Us being apart is wrong. No way is he giving up on us. Screw the fear.

My sentiments exactly.

Until that moment, I’d truly thought I could eventually let go of my feelings for him, feelings I hadn’t fully admitted to myself; terrifying feelings I wasn’t ready to face. But what I feel for him is all too clear now.

I stop, look up into his handsome face just before I reach him and whisper, “Say you love me!”

“I can’t,” he replies.

I’m taken aback. I didn’t think I needed him to say it. I’d wanted him to say it so that the confused man behind me might understand the seemingly cruel act I am about to commit. But I don’t understand his denial. He doesn’t love me? The thought contradicts everything he is doing at the moment. He’s here. I don’t believe he would come back for me – that he would have shown up on this day at this moment – if love wasn’t driving him. No other reason fits who he is.

He must see the confused hurt reflected in my eyes, because his toned, muscular arms mostly bare beneath the short sleeve tee, reach out and lift me. The connection – his hands on my waist – after our separation, rocks me. My arms grip his biceps as I wrap my legs around his waist and meet him half way. The kiss is filled with both passion and the love he just verbally denied, telling me what I needed to know. He’d said I can’t. Not I don’t.

As the kiss ends, he turns without another word, me still in his arms, to walk back through the double-pane doors.

Turned the way I am, I see the man I am leaving behind, still watching and hurt. He matters, but not in the same way as the one who holds me. It’s platonic in comparison.

“I’m sorry!” I yell to him. I am, sorry, but… “I just realized that I love this man. I have to go.” I hope he understands.

I wake.

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