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Leave Your Mark Before You Go
The tears poured down my face that dreary Tuesday morning. I felt the hard wood of the park bench as I wiped my eyes. Earlier, everything was fine. I had woken up early, to my answering machine and Jesse’s voice. He said he wanted to see me so I had gotten up and met him at our usual spot. I sat on my lucky branch in the good climbing tree in the park while he sat a little lower at his spot. I was smiling, I remember, thinking he just wanted to spend time together. Our conversation had been light, and pretty normal, considering I was carrying the whole thing.
Jesse was distracted; I could see it in his eyes. They were glazed and distant with occasional nods while I spoke. I was slowly beginning to get irritated with him and I didn’t hesitate to let him know.
“Jesse, you tell me what is going on right this second!” I demanded looking sternly at his face. His head jerked up, obviously recognizing the change in my tone.
“What?” His brow was furrowed. I couldn’t tell if he just didn’t hear what I said or if he was just confused. I decided to carry on anyway.
“Tell me what is wrong. I’m not stupid. I can tell something’s up.” I carried an annoyed tone and each word was pronounced distinct and separate. His head bowed down as he fiddled with his fingers. My mouth was set in a hard line as I impatiently flipped the hair out of my face while waiting for any explanation.
“Do. Not. Say. ‘Nothing’. Jesse.” I said through clenched teeth. My eyes glared at him. I was tired of getting all these bull s*** answers from him. Everyday I realized something was different. He was slowly getting more distant and I was trying desperately to cling on to how it was in the beginning. But I was done clinging now. I wanted answers.
He seemed intimidated by my sudden interruption, which was good, and he sighed, a sure sign that something was up.
“It’s just…I don’t know what to say.” He reluctantly offered up. My eyes narrowed and I gritted my teeth. I raised my eyebrows expectantly waiting for him to carry on. “Rachel, you know I love you, I always will, it’s just…” he took a deep breathe and paused looking at the ground. Finally, he raised his eyes and looked me in the eye. “I think we should break up.”
My face fell. The look in my eyes turned from fierce to glazed. The words were echoing dull and blunt through my mind. I think we should break up. I think we should break up. Tears welled up in my eyes. They were tears of anger, and frustration, not sadness. I knew this was coming; it was so obvious, but it still stung. The feeling of rejection isn’t a pleasant one, it's a real blow to the self esteem. So I bit my lip and swung my legs down from the tree. I let go and dropped down gracefully with a thud. I heard feet land behind me as Jesse climbed down too.
“Rachel, please, will you just listen?” But I was already running. His fingers brushed my arm in his feeble attempt to grab me. I didn’t turn back I just ran away from this place. I guess a part of me wanted to hear feet running behind me, trying to bring me back like I actually mattered. But I heard no sound other than the repetition of my shoes against the grass. I kept running till I just couldn’t anymore. It was then that I sat down at a park bench, panting and crying.
When I looked back to the tree, I could see he was already gone.
"Idiot." I said to myself under my breath. I tried to furtively wipe the tears from my eyes as a mother pushing a stroller glanced at me while walking by. It was only then that I considered the possibility that I may have been slightly dramatic, swinging from a tree and running away and all. I chuckled halfheartedly as I thought about what that probably looked like to innocent bystanders.
"I should have slapped him." I mumbled under my breath.
"Should have slapped whom?" I heard someone say from behind me.
I turned around and laughed and laughed.
"You." I said, smiling as I walked over to Jesse. I glanced over at his car which was newly parked on the street. He had run back and gotten his car and drove over here. I raised an eyebrow at it and at him.
"Well, you ran kind of fast."
I just shook my head and pulled my right arm back. I heard the slap of skin on skin before I actually felt the burning in my hand. With a defiant "Hmph." I turned on my heels and power walked away, leaving a cursing Jesse behind caressing his cheek.
Hey maybe two dramatic exits will cancel each other out. But, if not, I think I may be ok with that.