“I’m getting married,” Sarah said. “He’s a good guy. I think you’d like him.”
Like him? I thought. More like want to kill him. “You deserve someone who loves you,” I said with my hands shoved deep in my coat pockets. I’d bumped into Sarah outside the new Starbucks on 44th and Hillside. I hadn’t seen Sarah in about ten years. Back then, I loved her more than life itself, and I thought I always would. I’d believed nothing on this earth could tear us apart. How very wrong young love can be. But the good thing about naivety is you honestly believe in love. And for a moment, I’d thought loved believed in me, too. “Can I buy you a coffee?”
“How’s Angie doing?” Sarah said, hiding a tear spreading her red cheek. So, I haven’t been completely honest. I cheated on Sarah in college, and she hasn’t forgiven me. It was the worst ten minutes of my life, but Sarah walked in mid-thrust. I couldn’t get the pain in her eyes out of my mind. I’d never seen someone so terrified and angry at the same time.
“He’s a lucky man.” I’d always thought I’d be the lucky man to place a ring on Sarah’s ring finger. But life didn’t turn out the way I’d expected.
“Not going to answer, are you?”
“Could have been us, and—“
“Don’t,” Sarah said. “Stop it.” She placed both hands over her eyes. “You made your choice.” She pulled her beanie over her ears as light snow descended.
“Listen, next week is going to be the best day of your life. I mean, you’re getting married. You should be happy, not sad.”
“I can’t help it.” Sarah’s voice cracked.
“You love him, right?”
“Of course I love him. It’s just that—“
“You’re not over me, are you?” Sarah remained silenced for a moment. I might have stirred some old feelings in her heart. Don’t blame me. I’m merely asking questions.
“How do you know when you love someone?” Sarah asked. I didn’t know whether this was a trick question, and I wasn’t sure I had the correct answer. So I said the first thing that came to mind.
“You can’t stop thinking about them, and you want to be apart of every aspect of their life. You have an insatiable desire to show affection to them. You know, that kind of stuff.”
“And what if that’s with someone other than you’re with?”
“I’m not a counselor, Sarah.”
“Not asking for counseling.”
“Look, I’m happy for you. I’d better get going.”
“Wait,” Sarah said, grabbing my arm. “You’re coming to the wedding, right?”
“Are you trying to throw this up in my face?”
“No,” Sarah said. “It’s nothing like that. We were close once you and me.”
“That was a lifetime ago.” I broke my arm free. “Don’t you want to know the name of the guy I’m marrying?”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re going to tell me anyway.”
“It’s you. I’m going to marry you.”
“Me?” I pointed at myself. “You want to marry me?”
Sarah closed the distance between us and wrapped her arms around my neck, locking her lips to mine. She had this way of giving long kisses, not quick pecks. I’d never felt anything like it before or since. Infatuation & an old flame raced through my veins.
“Like I said, you deserve someone who loves you.”
(short unedited version)
(© 2020 AC)