by T.A. Brooks
Short story contest for writingforums.org
When it's over....
I write this as a tribute to a friend I once had.
"When it's over," she began to mumble, her bottom lip trembling. Under solemn eyes she had to take a deep breath, filling and then clearing her panicked lungs in a shaky rhythm. Finally, the girl could look up, meeting the eyes of her best friend for the first time during the quiet 'conversation'. "When it's all over," she began again, "just promise that you won't go away forever? I know I'm not what you need now." She had to stop to wipe a tear, her eyes falling to the ground again. "I kn-know that all I can do is hold you back from here. I'm stuck in one place and you have places to go that I c-can never follow you to."
She flinched back and away from the hand that reached in her direction, not wanting the false comfort it offered. It was the finality on both of their faces that told a story neither could put into words; year and years of broken hearts and solemn stories and happy nights came to the worst kind of close in the form of a set of expressions.
"There is a life out there for you. There are loyalties and responsibilities that have outgrown me and my mark in your life." Her tears were sobs now, burning a hole straight through her chest and threatening to sear away a piece of her soul.
"I c-can never be the person you need, because that is all I am; I am just me. And you are you. And after being broken and abandoned and betrayed so many times in my life I can understand when I have to let something go before I smother it," she finished, her soul still sinking ever deeper. She waited, her eyes cast down at the floor as if trying to decipher whatever secrets it may have harbored. And she waited, and waited, and waited. And there was only silence.
But silence was enough; silence was all that needed to be said. She drew up her gaze, finding sorrowful eyes filled with a bittersweet gift of nothing. She nodded, wiping her face with a shirt sleeve. And that was all. No big blow up. No huge outburst or crying mess. Only silence, and the bittersweet end of childhood.