Dane(10)By: Leddy Harper
“I didn’t forget. I just wasn’t paying attention to the calendar.” I was close to losing my patience and gritted my teeth against the words my mouth threatened to spew in her direction. I was seconds away from telling her my refusal to dwell on the things I cannot change did not equate to forgetting. It didn’t mean I didn’t care, and it certainly didn’t diminish my feelings for either of them. All it meant was I chose to not end my life over the loss of another. But I couldn’t tell her any of that, so I bit my tongue. I’d never be able to tell her that.
“You weren’t here!”
I climbed onto the couch, on my knees, and leaned over her. I had her face cradled in my hands, forcing her to look at me, and then waited for her to calm down enough to hear me. “You aren’t here, Gabi. You’re never here. I need you. I miss you.” My voice cracked, bleeding the words I desperately needed her to recognize. “I can’t continue to sit here and watch you fall apart. It’s killing me.” I pressed my forehead to hers and whispered, “It’s killing me.”
“I don’t know how to fix it. It hurts so bad.”
“What hurts, baby? Talk to me. Let me help.”
She shook her head and pushed me away. “You can’t. This is my punishment. God took our baby because of me. Because of what I’ve done…”
“What did you do?” I stared into her tear-filled eyes, her pain penetrating my soul. “No, Gabs. That wasn’t your fault. When will you accept it was never your fault? Please, talk to someone. If you can’t talk to me, then call Dr. Greiner. Or we’ll find another doctor.”
“It won’t do any good.”
“Don’t say that. You don’t know. I miss us, Gabi. I miss the way we were. I’m here to support you, but I want to be happy, too.”
“And that’s exactly what I want,” she finally admitted, and it made me smile. It was the first time in months Gabi had made me smile, and it made me wish I could give her the world. Right at that moment, I knew she would find her way. I had faith in us. I still held on to hope.
I leaned in and kissed her chapped lips. They had been chapped for so long, probably due to the amount of salt they came in contact with from her endless tears. But chapped or not, I kissed them.
After getting Gabi calm and settled into bed with a book, I headed down to the beach for a run. I’d had so much pent-up stress eating at me lately. I needed to get rid of it somehow. I ran in the sand until the sun began to drift behind the horizon. Then I turned around to head home. My steps began to falter the closer I got, and by the time I made it to the front of my building, the sky had completely darkened.
Ahead of me, I saw the waves crashing against the pier, beckoning me closer. So instead of going upstairs, I headed a little farther down the beach to my favorite spot. Honestly, it was more like an oversized dock. No one ever used it anymore except to fish off during the day. At night, it became secluded and was all mine. I turned up the music on my iPod and planted the earbuds in place as I walked down the rickety planks to sit in my preferred dark corner.
Just after the third song, I noticed a shadowy figure down the pier. As the person came closer, the moon’s light began to brighten her face. My smile widened before I could stop it. I turned off the music, and slowly took my earbuds out.
“Stalking me?” I asked when she stood only a few feet away.
She jumped and covered her chest, as if to catch her heart from falling to her feet. “Oh my God, you scared the shit out of me.” She sounded breathless, and it made me laugh.
I stood up so she could see me better and asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing.” Her soft laughs breathed life into her words. “I went for a walk and this place looked empty, so I figured I’d stop before heading home.”
I didn’t ask her to, but she sat down anyway. We’d kind of left things unsaid earlier when I left the office, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. “Did you go down to HR and fill out your paperwork today?”
With the moon shining bright, I could see her face clearly. God, she was beautiful. Her long hair was down in messy curls that hung over her bare shoulders and down her spine. It had been straight last night and she’d worn it up today at the office. Even though it was technically dark outside and I could only see it from the white light of the moon, I’d have to say curly was my favorite.