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Say Something

Say Something

Giorgina Liguori

 

She sat across from him, trying to read his expression, trying to find something in the eyes, in the tilt of his head, something that said he was sad or angry.

He asked, “ What time is the plane?”

“Eleven.”

He smiled and turned his attention to the skyline out the window. Dusk was setting in and lights were coming on. The bridge in the distance glowed with vehicle lights and the windows in the high rises of the Upper East Side lit up like Christmas trees.

She loved her neighborhood. She loved her city. But, she was leaving. She would miss it very much, but not as much as she’d miss him.

Her mind was flooded with images of them walking through Central Park, riding their bikes down to Tribeca for brunch on Sundays, and just laughing and talking over a glass of wine at the local pub. She loved how he talked with everyone, was interested in everything and every body. She loved that he loved walking in the rain and eating ice cream cones from the bottom rather than the top. Most of all, she loved listening to him when he told her of his boyhood in Wisconsin, or his time in Iraq, or his mother’s fudge cake. Any story told by Scott was embellished with images and laughter and even, sometimes, tears.

She was aware how, when they were in a restaurant or coffee shop, she’d see other patrons listening intently to his stories. She was, however, his best audience. But, that would soon be over.

For nineteen months, since she’d met him, she had waited for him to stop being angry with the girl who’d left him. Not only left him, but actually walked out of his life and into the arms of his best friend. Valerie’s betrayal had cut deep. But, that was almost three years ago.

She’d waited for him to say the things she needed said. She was tired of waiting. They were friends. He seemed totally content with that arrangement. She liked that he was so comfortable with her that he could tell her anything and everything. She loved that he was always there on the other end of the phone when she was upset or elated. He was her best audience, the president of her fan club. He even called himself that. But, it was now almost two years, and he seemed to have no desire to take their relationship further. Each time he said good night or goodbye, she ached for some word, some gesture, to show he cared as much as she did.

She could not take the longing. She was starting to feel pathetic. She had to end this. But, the idea of him being around and not seeing him would be impossible. Dating other men when he was a five- minute walk away was something she could not imagine. So, tonight she would be leaving: another city, another job. It was time to move on. It might be running away, but she felt as if she had no other choice. She knew how hard this would be. She loved New York and she loved this guy.

He looked at her and smiled. “I’m glad for you. If it’s what you want, what you need, go for it.”

She didn’t trust herself to speak, so she simply smiled.

“They say the worst thing at the end of your life is to think about the things you didn’t do. There’s no guarantee what will happen, but if you don’t go, you’ll probably always wonder, what if?”

“Yes, you’re right. But, it’s getting late and I have to finish packing.”

She walked him to the door and before he left, he hugged her. His touch made her tremble. She felt his heart beating against her face as she pressed it to the warm soft flannel of his shirt. He held her for a while as the tears ran down her face.

“Oh, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry.” He tilted her chin up to him and smiled. “It’s OK.” She knew he wanted her to be happy. She knew he cared about her. But, not enough.

“I’ll miss you, “ she said.

“Me, too.” As he began to pull away she silently screamed, don't. Don’t leave. Ask me to stay. Tell me you don’t want me to go. But the words never left her mouth.

He winked at her, opened the door and was gone.

Instead of packing, she sat in her favorite chair, hugging her favorite blanket. She was so afraid of what she was feeling.

She was so annoyed that without him she felt empty and incomplete. She had to leave. She had to find someone else or maybe no one else, but she had to stop waiting and wishing.

She didn’t have to close her eyes to see his face. She knew his face, and how the back of his hand had that slight scar, how he only had freckles on one side of his nose and how one eyebrow raised when he laughed.

She loved their closeness, their fun, their truth. But what had not happened, in spite of the closeness, was the total opening up, the dropping of the defense, the wall he’d had up ever since Valerie had left.

Was he afraid to let anyone in again? Did he think she’d do the same thing? OR, more realistically, and more simply, she was not the one to tear it down.

He’d been happy with her as a friend, but the words she longed to hear, to know he felt more than that, those words never came.

Even tonight, especially tonight, she was hoping, he’d tell her; say something, to make her change her mind. He hadn’t.

She filled the last suitcase and checked to make sure the ticket was in her bag. She took a deep breath, picked up the two suitcases and headed for the door.

She was in the cab when her phone went off.

“Don’t go.” That was all he said. It was enough.

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