My eyes were bulging and wide and I knew it. But I couldn't let him see it. I wouldn't let him see me like that. I couldn't look away from his eyes. I steadied my voice, knowing I would have to say something. I knew what he was going to say. I knew it was going to come. I didn't think it would come so soon, but I knew it would eventually.
He opened his mouth to speak. To say the words that would kill me on the inside. "Z, I don't think this is going to work out."
I knew that was what he was going to say, but it hurt even more than I thought it would. It hit me like a bullet, straight into the heart. I gasped, and I knew when I spoke my voice would crack. I used the time he took to talk to steady my voice again.
"I just don't see this going anywhere. See us going anywhere."
I think he seen me struggling, fighting to control my face. "Zailea. Are you okay?"
He used my full name. He's never used my full name. Only the nickname he gave me when we first met. That was what made me sure that there was no saving or recovering what we had had. I knew my time to talk was here. I just hoped my voice wouldn't fail me. "Yeah, um … yeah, I'm fine … I … uh … I understand."
His face went back to the indifferent mask that showed he didn't care no more. His eyes became hard and still again. "Good. I'm sorry, Zailea I really am." He turned around and started walking. Walking to the school bus that would take him home.
My friend Eric, was standing in the doorway of our bus. He watched me as I watched him walk away. Walk away from me. From the thing that used to be us.
I knew my face had slipped from its hold. Eric did too.
"Zlea. Zlea are you okay? Are you all right?" Eric face was full of concern. He knows what it feels like to have the person you love leave you Not knowing how to move on.
I knew my voice was going to slip too. "Yeah I'm okay. Thanks Eric." I didn't know what I was thanking him for. Maybe for him asking me if I was okay, when he already knew the answer.
Eric face was replicating mine. Maybe he was remembering his experience, I didn't know. "Don't let it get to you, Zlea. Don't let him hurt you. He's not worth it. You deserve better than that and you know it." He was trying to help me. He knew what I was feeling, suffering. "Don't let him hurt you." He gave me another pained look and got on our bus.
I stood there. I stood in the place where I had gotten my goodbye kiss everyday. Waiting for it. Waiting for him to be behind me. To turn me around and kiss me goodbye. But it didn't come. He didn't come.
I knew I couldn't stand there and wait forever. I knew I had to go home. I made my feet move. It was like I was trying to lift bricks. I dragged myself toward my bus and up the stairs. Down the isle to my seat. I sat down in my seat and set my books beside me. I laid my face against the window. And let the first tear slide down my cheek.