I walk with the crowd on the sidewalk, as I blend in with them. We’re just a sea of sad and tired faces. The December air is cool and crisp, nipping at my skin. Children hold their parents’ hand, as they stay close to their sides. They all walk to school on this snowy day. I stuff my hands in my pockets, as I stride down the sidewalk. The city is a cold place, like its people. Everyone walks at the same tempo, some faster than others.
Everywhere I look, there is a sad face walking past me. The skies are gray, and people wrap their arms around themselves to keep warmth. Then I see her. I turn around to see her slithering her way through the crowd. My first instinct was to follow her, but then I remember the last time I saw her.
“You’re a monster!” She cried out in fear. “You’re just like him!” She yelled at me, comparing me to that monster, she calls her father. I remember as every small step I went forward, she went two large steps backward. She quaked in fear the last time I saw her. I didn’t mean to scare her, nor ’hurt’ her. But I discard the memory, and chase after her. I need to see her, and I can’t ignore this gut feeling I have. She is the only woman that made me feel something. For as long as I could remember, I was so numb. I hated the world, more than I do now. But seeing her right now, at this moment, my world stops. But yet at the same time, it’s against me. I push people out of the way, desperate to see her. I feel my heart accelerate against my chest, as I get closer to her. I call out her name, and I see her turn. Her hazel eyes widen at the sight of me. But instead of freezing up, her adrenaline kicks in, and she runs as fast as she can. My heart coaxes itself in terror of losing her again. “You’re a monster,” my subconscious reminds me, but it doesn’t stop me from chasing after her. I see that she has put her gray hoodie up to try to blend in with the crowd. But I see her. “You’re a monster,” my subconscious says again. The word ’monster’ repeats over and over again, but it doesn’t stop me at all. And finally, I reach out to her, and grab her shoulder. She faces me with her doe-like hazel eyes. That scar on her face is still visible from the last time I saw her. It has been two months since I saw her last. I see as her fear washes out to no emotion at all. “Daniel,” She says my name, and I feel her body tensing up.
“Please, let me apologize, Valerie.” Her name rolls off my tongue, and it sounds so foreign. She does nothing but look blankly into my eyes. Here I am, breathless, giving her an incredulous look. I can’t believe that she is here again, right in front of me. No words fall from her lips, and I feel our attachment we use to have… gone. She isn’t the same girl I remember. No. This girl standing in front of me is different now. “Please.” I whisper to her, and she frowns.
“Daniel — I-I have to go.” Her words stumble, and I feel the sting of rejection. “I’m sorry, but I have to.”
“No.” I grab her by the wrist, and pull her towards me. “Do you realize how many nights I had without sleep, or how close I was to giving up, Val?” I question her. “The guilt is eating me up alive, only time will tell its difference.” I tell her, and she bites her pink lip. “Daniel…” My name sticks to her mind, as she rubs her temples. “I really have to… go…” She slowly ends. “Please Valerie!” I exclaim in one final desperate attempt. “I need this, not just for myself, but you too!” I tell her, and she shakes her head. “What?” “I can’t, Danny.” She replies. “I have to go.” This time she says it with assertion, and I furrow my brows. What trouble has she gotten herself into this time? “You’re not telling me something.” I prod on with my words. “Tell me.” And finally, she sighs out a breath. Her lips part, and she looks up to me. “I can’t be with you again Daniel.” She says. “Our relationship, you can agree that it was toxic. It did not only mentally hurt me, but it physically did as well.” She says, placing her small fingers on the scar on her left cheek. She looks down at the ground, away from me.
“I won’t lie to you anymore.” I say, and her head snaps back up to me, and I see the grim look on her face. “Why do you have to fib at me, like I’m some small child?” She asks me. “I told you everything about me, and all that comes out of your mouth are lies!” “I won’t do it again.” “That’s perfectly fine with me, because there can’t be an us again. As much as I still care for you, there can’t. It’s not good for us.” She whispers, her voice barely audible. I look straight at her, dead in the eyes.
“You don’t understand…” I sigh out. “Whenever I was with you, I felt happy. Now I’m going back to this world full of vindictive hatred.” All of my desperate attempts are worthless, by the look of her golden orbs, she is done with this conversation. Why can’t she understand me? I’ll do anything to bring this woman back into my life. I don’t want her, I need her. She frowns, and tugs her wrist away from my grasp. “Goodbye Daniel.” She says, and I look down at the concrete sidewalk. Snow calmly falls from the gray sky. She still stands in front of me, waiting for an answer. “Maybe one day, our paths will cross again.” She tells me, and places her hand on my stubbled cheek. I see the vulnerability. “I will always care for you, remember that.” So she stands on her tiptoes, and plants her velvety lips on my forehead. She gives me a weak smile, and turns away from me.
I didn’t bother chasing after her this time. She made it very clear that she doesn’t want me back. The benevolence of rejection hits against me, hard. My Valerie, she has left me just like everyone else. Her pain causes her to leave everyone. What did I expect? A runaway to stay with me? Falling in love with her was the first unrealistic idea, and keeping her, that will never happen.
So I did what I had to do. I let her go, hoping that one day, we’ll meet again.