The Day Tears Fell

They say you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.
Truth: You knew exactly what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.

The Day Tears Fell

I watched the clouds roll by as the motor of his speeding car hummed and scratched the pavement towards the highway and away from me.  Just like that, I knew I would never see James again. I waited for the tears to fall… but there were none. I still could not cry. Not for James, for Craig, for Brent and for countless others before him. My heart had either turned into a rock or I have learned to master the art of painless break-ups.

“He’s gone?” my friend Susie crept slowly behind me.

“Yeah…” I answered back.

“You ok?”

“Sure…” I even managed to smile.

“Bree… really. You have to stop taking all these men for a ride…” Susie sat beside me on the lone bench by the lake.

I knew she was right. But somehow, in my mind,  I wasn’t just taking them for a ride.

“Well its probably the best ride of their life, anyway, Sue,” I joked.

“Oh Bree,” she sighed.

“I know. I am certainly trying, Sue… but…” I couldn’t bring myself to finish the sentence. I felt something as heavy as a brick sliced through my chest at that very moment.

“Still him.” Susie finished the sentence for me. Instead of replying, I threw a stone into the lake and looked at it skip on the water before it disappeared in the middle of the deep.  I watched as Susie finally stood up and got on her rackety bicycle and rode towards the direction of the village.

All around me were tall grasses and trees that swayed in the gentle breeze. Close to sunset, the park by the lake looked more majestic than ever. There were just a few couples scattered around now, with their arms intertwined and their eyes locked in each other’s gazes.

Has it been two years since I last saw him? Rand, whose smile had the power to brighten my gloomiest mood, and whose eyes spoke ageless mysteries into mine, had been the real love of my life. We grew up together, in this very village. From childhood games of hide and seek, to the awkward dances of puberty, and the highs and lows of high school, Rand and I had been the best buddies. We were the best of friends. We often came to the lake as teenagers, looked at the stars and talked about our dreams. The night before I left town for college, Rand took me to this very lake and kissed me, and I kissed him back with the intensity of a girl discovering she was in love for the first time.

I wrote him countless letters he never answered. Spent on phone calls he never returned and wrote his name on numerous diaries I still kept under my bed. I cried rivers for years because of his neglect. Sure I dated, but every man I have been with measured nothing next to him. And so, I learned to like men but never to love them.

“Rand….” I didn’t realize I whispered his name audibly… just as I had two years ago when I saw him again.

I still remember it like it was yesterday.

I passed him just as I was about to enter the pharmacy in town.  Something familiar twinkled at the corner of my eye, and I had to look back.

“Rand is that you?”

I literally shivered when he turned around and his eyes fell directly into mine. A knowing smile formed in his lips at the sight of me.

“Bree, oh my God, how nice to see you!”

We shared laughter and hugs then, and the next six weeks with Rand were the happiest I have ever known in my life. I remember so well the dates, dinners, countless hours of conversation and picnics we shared at this very park.

“Stay with me forever, Bree…”

We spent one beautiful night together of love, and I knew that I had fallen desperately and utterly in love with him. But I could not bring myself to say that I loved him. Something inside me was afraid, something made me pull back. I knew I loved him but I did not want to get close enough again to get hurt. I did not want to expect. I was terrified of bringing myself to a place where he could hurt me, where any man could hurt me.  I thought we could stay happy forever, but I realized, the day after I last saw him, that it was not enough for him. He wanted commitment and assurance, something I was not prepared to give him at that time. And now, two years later, after countless dates with various men I often breakup with, my heart still holds the fort for him. Should I go and find him? Could it be possible, after all this time, that I was ready to love and risk the pain?

The sky was now ablaze with gold and orange as sunset threatened to break through the blue sky. I stood up and started to walk towards home, as the breeze played with my hair and touched my pale cheeks. Visions of his smile, his touch, his embrace played in  my mind.

“Bree, Bree!”

I saw my young brother run towards me. There was something in his hand.

“Bree, mamma asked me to find you and give you this, she said it might be important.” He handed me a large white envelope. As he ran back, my heart skipped. The letter was addressed as coming from Mr. Rand Stevens.

I could not remember the last time that I cried. But my tears slowly fell one after another until in thunderous torrents it did fall that very day.

In my hand, I still held the beautifully crafted paper where it was written, “Rand Stevens and Gail Adams invite you to celebrate as we exchange marriage vows…. ”

I knew that I was trying to protect myself all these years, but I never realized  that  I would lose so much more by denying love. It still hurts like hell. But I now know better.

And at least this time, I could cry.

written by Vicky, 2011

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