I waited outside for him. It was a cool night. Crisp. The crickets chirped. The leaves rustled. Children were being tucked in. Husbands were kissing their wives on their foreheads. Grandmothers were sighing over the nightly news. Teenage girls were texting their boyfriends goodnight. And here I sat. Outside. In the crisp air waiting for him to come home. Tonight I felt just a little bit brave.
His car pulled up in the driveway. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered. As he got out the car and walked to the porch, I stood up.
"Hey," I whispered. My hands were sweating and shoved in the pockets of my jeans. He stood there. All 6 feet of him. Solid. Masculine. Bold.
"What are you doing here?" he asked perplexed. "It's late. You shouldn't be out here by yourself."
"I know right. Crazy. I could probably be attacked or something," I said sarcasticly.
"What are you doing here?" he asked again. The way he spoke over the rustle of the leaves made it sound musical.
"I had to talk to you. I had to explain what's been going on with me lately."
"Right, now? Can't this wait, it's been a long day, I'm tired. You should go home." He starts to put his key in the door. "We'll talk tomorrow, okay. Night Kamryn."
"Ethan, I love you!" I spat. I took a step back from him, startled by my own words. They pierced the air. All of a sudden silence blanketed the night. As desparately as I needed to speak the words, I needed even more desparately to take them back. But I couldn't. Once the words left my lips I didn't own them anymore. He owned them now. I wondered what he would do with my most precious possession.
He finally began to speak. "Why do I get the feeling you don't mean in just a we're best buds kinda way?"
"Look, I know its crazy. Its absurd. It makes no sense. I've told you over and over again in word and deed how impossible the very idea of us being together would be, but it just snuck up on me. Bit me in the butt. I did exactly what I didn't want to do. I caught feelings. And I hate it. I don't want it to be this way, but it is what it is..."
"But you've been treating me like crap lately. It's like you are in permanent PMS mode or something. Nagging about this and about that... Nothing I do is ever good enough for you," he complained.
"I know. I told you it didn't make any sense. I've been building this wall all my life. I tell you you're not worthy. But its just a misdirect. Turning the attention on you when its really me. I'm not worthy. I've been lying to you and to myself. I guess in trying to convince you that you're just incapable of any relationship then hopefully my desire for one with you will dissappear."
"You're rambling. You always ramble when you're nervous," he said shaking his head and massaging his forehead.
"You know me too well," I say with a girlish grin.
He answers me back with the most stern of looks. "Obviously, not well enough."
"Maybe I should have been an actor or something," I joke.
"You should stay away from drama."
"I try," I said softly.
"Not hard enough."
There was this long pause that followed his words. He stared at the paint chipping off off the floorboards of the porch. I stared into the night sky fighting back tears. My heart ached for him. It ached in ways I have never felt before. Of course I wanted more from him. I wanted him to hold me. To tell me he loved me too. To occupy the lonely space in my heart. But he couldn't. He wouldn't.
"Look, maybe we just need to take a step back. A break from one another. Really try to figure out what we want from this relationship," he said breaking the silence.
"I already know what I want," I mumbled.
"What?" he asked.
"Look, I didn't tell you hoping you would or even wanting you to say it back," I lied.
"Yes you did."
I hate him. "I just thought you should know, Ethan. Thought maybe it would make you understand my behavior. You know what I'm just going to go." I started to walk quickly past him really wanting to run away from the rejection.
"This changes everything, you know that, right?" his question chased me down the driveway.
I turned around to face him. The breeze dried the tears from my face. I look at him. He doesn't seem as tall as before. His eyes look tired. He's slouched at the shoulders. His skin oily from the stress of the day. His lips a perfect pink, parted, ready to speak.
"Actually, it changes nothing at all," I say and turn back around and walk away.