I got off the train, I said goodbye.
We broke up years ago.
Well, I say broke up; We were never officially dating, we never got past that awkward phase where you're crazy about each other, but you don't want anyone else to know. It was great at first, we went to bookshops and antique stores, we drank lemon tea and talked about books. We rode trains and shared umbrellas, we danced ever so slowly, and we kissed hard and fast. It was just... right.
But I guess I was the only person who felt the same way. The day after our senior dance, the day we were set to announce our love to the world, she wasn't there. She just disappeared, like a puff of smoke, never to be seen again. Months later one of her friends told me that she'd transferred to an elite girls school, but I didn't care anymore. I knew how these things worked. Someone gets too close, the other person gets scared, and they run. It's nobody's fault.
The next months were vague and cloudy, nothing seemed to make much sense anymore, and even more so, I didn't care about anything. But slowly, very slowly, light and color dripped into my world again. It was okay to be alone, to read a book alone, to take a train alone, to just be alone. I was free. And it was okay. I almost forgot about her, but whenever I'd go past that station, I still remembered her. I could see her face right in front of me.
I'd waited for her there for hours once, hoping that she'd come. I used to get off there sometimes and just sit there, just to feel close to her again. But not anymore.
I gave myself permission to be happy.
To be happy being alone.
Years later, and I'm a professional publisher. I've even written my own manuscripts and plays, and I've worked hard for everything I get. I'm happy. I'm happy being alone.
Because, you know, your career won't up and leave you, it won't say it doesn't love you anymore, it won't give you the cold shoulder, you can make it exactly what you want, what you need.
And then I saw her.
Just walking into the room at our class reunion, hair up, cocktail dress, smile. She wasn't how I remembered her. But she was still her, I knew it.
I felt a huge rush of adrenaline looking at her, like an electric shock, like living without air for years, and then realising that you need it again. My world was entirely complete again, and nothing else mattered. I had to speak to her, that very second.
I silently pushed past the cliques of people separating us, blind to anyone else but her, I walked right up to her and reached out my hand.
"Miss Mullin." I said shortly, barely remembering to breathe.
"Mister Preston." She shot back, taking my hand and giving me her signature smile of mischeif.
"It's been far too long. How have you been?"
"Good! Of couse, I just got back from Korea."
"Really? Wow, how fascinating!"
"Yes, it was completely intoxicating, and speaking of intoxication, you need to buy me a drink so I can tell you about it."
The night went on like this for hours and hours, I didn't even notice time passing, everything was frozen in her shining smile.
It got late, and even the saddest, most attention-deprived people were starting to leave, so naturally we split a cab. But as we neared my apartment, I realised that I couldn't leave her. Not like this, in some dirty, torn old cab somewhere, that's not the kind of man I am.
When the cab stopped, I took her hand and invited her in. She was always a girl with poise, and she didn't look shocked for even a moment. She just smiled and followed me out of the cab.
It was amazing, better than ever before. It was like out first night again, like reliving my favorite part of my life. We fell asleep in each other's arms, and I dreamed about the rest of our lives.
And when I awoke in the late, late morning,
She was gone.
Just like the first time.
I cursed myself for doing this again, for being drawn in by that same smile, that same charade, when I knew what would happen. At least, I thought I knew.
I told myself I'd changed, that I was better, that I didn't need her anymore, but it was a lie. I couldn't live without her. That was the truth. It had to be the truth.
Everything stopped. The world didn't seem to move from second to second, everything was frozen in her betrayal.
I lost my job because I couldn't get out of bed in the morning,
Because I was awake all night, wondering why I was still alive.
Wondering if I still had to be.
And so I made a plan.
I had everything I needed, I got on the train, on the way to that station, ready to sit on that bench again, ready to end it.
I got off the train, I said goodbye. To the train, to the people, to the city, to the world.
I sat on the bench, I took out the knife, and I pointed it to my heart...
I thought I was hallucinating, some kind of near-death thing, until I felt her hand on my wrist.
"Please don't! I know why you're doing this!"
I'd never seen her not smiling.
It was so jolting.
"Don't ever do that. Look, I'm sorry. There's alot of things that I reget, but especially you. Not like that, I mean..."
She looked away from me.
"I mean I regret the way I treated you, I got scared, and I hurt you, I'm sorry."
"You really are?"
"I really am, I'm the worst person in the world."
I dropped the knife.