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"You're going to leave me, aren't you?" he asked quietly.
"Yes," I answered lamely. I wanted to say so much more. I wanted to share with him the many emotions cascading through my mind. Some were familiar but others were strangers reaching out to me in darkness. If I let them pull me in, what awaited me in their unknown embrace? I couldn't take any more chances. Not with pain.
"I wish I could stop you but I know it's impossible, I know you too well. It's inevitable. Maybe you have the right idea anyhow," he said without looking at me. His head hung limply as if there were a weight attached to his slender white neck.
"No, I doubt you could stop me, delay me maybe, but never will you change my mind. I don't know if what I'm doing is right or wrong. I can't even define right and wrong. Can you? Can anyone? All that I truly know is what I feel. We all have a different set of beliefs and morals. How can only one person have the right set?" I said. I smiled a little, knowing that I had caught him. Finally he met my gaze.
"It's just like you to get all philosophical on me. You know how I hate it. ... but I love it because it's a part of you. A part of you I don't want to lose," his voice trembled as he said this. I could see he was on the verge of tears.
Although I knew he was hurting I couldn't stop my reply from sounding harsh, "Listen, what would be the point of me continuing? We both know there's nothing at the end of the road. Nothing but a stop sign."
For awhile we said nothing. I knew he understood. He was just too stubborn to accept it. He looked at me with pain etched in his face. I was his only friend, I realized this. I also believed that he was strong enough to pull himself through this. I knew life held more for him than I could give. His need to have me by his side would diminish in time, as would my memory.
"I'll never forget you," he said as if he'd read my mind.
"You'll move on and block out as human nature does," I said, "and someday many years from now when I'm long forgotten, you'll see a piece of me. It may be a poem, a line in a movie, or a favorite book of mine, but love me then. In that one moment do not mourn, just feel all of the love you have for me. Accept what you cannot accept now and love me."
"I love you now and I'll love you then," he said, the tears in his eyes overflowing, "Goodbye."
It was only one muttered word. Almost a whisper. I saw his tears as he quickly turned. I watched him pull himself away. I felt the love I had for him encompass me in that moment. But I let it go.
I must move on. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a reason. My life has been long and my reason short. 1