What we once were

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young man is told by his fiancee that she no longer loves him, and heshe left to pick up the pieces of his life any way he can

Submitted: May 05, 2016

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Submitted: May 05, 2016

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What we Once Were

I sat in my car staring at the ceiling for what seemed like forever, wondering why exactly I had picked today to decide to propose to her. Then again, what difference would it have made? I kept thinking of what she had told me "I think I made a mistake" she said while holding my hand. The way that a friend holds your hand when they are trying to console you, the way a mother holds your hand after you fall down and scrape your knee. "I think I made a mistake" she kept repeating over and over again. "I don't know what to do, and I feel awful for doing this to you, but I just don’t love you anymore." her voice quivered through tears rolling down her cheeks, it was unusual seeing her this way, seeing tears well up in her eyes and stream down her face. I had always loved her face, and not in the stuck up "Oh she's a trophy Girl" kind of way, there was just something about her face that made me feel loved unconditionally and appreciated for who I actually was. I was still in shock, I mean it's not every day that the woman you love decides she doesn't want to be exactly that.

See, four years prior, I wasn't thinking about what it was going to feel like. I wasn't "preparing myself" or anything like that, in all fairness though, every relationship starts out looking perfect, and then you realize that unlike those sappy romance movies, it's not true that all you need is each other, you learn that early on, but you also learn that it's fine, because you'd rather not suffer through your problems with anyone else. I was still staring at the ceiling when It started to rain, I turned my car on and decided to head home, by the time I had got into my medium sized apartment that any 25 year old would be proud of, I looked at the clock and saw that it read eight in the afternoon. "Well I've made it three hours single" I thought to myself, not even seeing the humor in my own joke. I flopped down on my still unmade bed, and started to feel a rush of emotion course through me, and with that, the tears started to flow.

When I first met her, it was after all, not the most romantic of places, but it was memorable. Aces was the bar two blocks from my apartment building, and as all good love stories begin, we both found a reason to be there that night. My reason was to hang out with a couple of my buddies from high school and help my friend get his last good fill of fun before his marriage, I know, cliche right? Her reason however, was that she had needed directions to a more "sociable" bar called Flannigans, which was in a fancier part of town. She had needed to be at her friend's baby shower and decided the best place to ask for directions, was a bar filled with guys like my friends and me. I was at the bar getting rounds for everyone when I made eye contact with her, she was about ten feet away and I'll always remember that smile she wore, I'd always been a romantic and I get a little carried away at times, but when I say that her smile didn't belong in that bar, and that it belonged somewhere far away from that place, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy seeing it there in front of me. I dropped off the drinks to my friends and got the courage to head over and talk to her. When I approached her, she flashed that smile at me again, which made me feel welcome and warm, almost like she had singled me out of that entire bar, I hadn't experienced anything quite like it before.

"Uh, excuse me" she said with a hurried tone. "Do you know your way around the city?" I sipped my beer and swiftly sat it down in one movement. "Yeah, grew up all around here, where do you need to be?" She sighed a sigh of obvious relief and showed me an address on her phone that read 865 Ivy lane. "Yeah, I know where that is, are you going to Flannigans?" I asked, though I felt I already knew the answer. "Yeah, um I have to be at a baby shower there and it starts in 25 minutes." She said with a disappointed tone. I instinctively offered her a ride like she was one of my friends trying to go home wasted. "Honestly, this is going to sound weird coming from a random stranger, but I can get you there in about 13 minutes actually, if you decide to trust me?" She inspected me as if there was anything on me that would read: "Don't do it, he's going to viciously rape and kill you" all in big bold letters. "Only if you promise that I will get out at that baby shower untouched and in one piece." She said with a slightly flirtatious attitude, to which I responded "Well, I don't usually offer my victims a chance to escape, but for you I’ll make a one in a million exception” laughing, she reached her hand out saying “I'll shake on that." I finished my beer and introduce myself “By the way, my name is Kyle" She shook my hand and responded "Jessica"

I lifted my head up enough to read the clock and saw that it was four in the morning. It took me a minute to realize that I felt like shit, I knew I wasn't sick, but there's something about getting out of a long term relationship that literally tears a piece of you out, and for that same reason I lifted my phone up to text her, though I didn't even know what I wanted to say. I pushed myself out of my bed and locked eyes with Bruce, my dog. "What are we gonna do now bud?” I said while rubbing his head.He was probably the laziest purebred bulldog on the planet, definately combined with one of the ugliest, but you couldn't help but love him for all of it though. After noticing myself talking to him, I thought to myself "I feel like I'm in one of those romantic dramas, all the way down to being that guy stuck with his dog" I could almost hear a tagline that read in some deep announcer's voice too, "He had to lose it all, to find out what he really had." With back ups of my friends telling me to go after her, and some upbeat music starts playing with a shot of me running up some stairs in an airport, just trying to find her and tell her how much that I love her. Of course, doing something like that would've made me happier than sitting in a dark room petting my dog that was almost like a child to me and was ironically a three year anniversary present from Jessica. I quickly changed my clothes, put on my comfiest hoodie and walked out of the bedroom and down to the lobby. As I opened the door, I was greeted by a lovely blast of freezing air and water to the face. I glanced around and saw that it was pouring down like god himself needed an umbrella. I rushed back to my car and unlocked the door with one hand while flinging it open with the other. I jumped inside and quickly shut the door, I was slightly proud of myself considering after all that I had only gotten soaked.

I made my way to my car and held the door open for her, she nodded as she slid into the passenger seat. I got inside and shortly after, we were heading away from the old, rustic look of aces, and onto the illuminated city highway. “So,” she said with a twinge of curiosity that was meant to break the silence. “You said you grew up around here?” I tried to occasionally make some eye contact with her while somewhat maintaining my driving skills. “Yeah, my dad was a construction worker and my mom was a school teacher around here too.” She shook her head and smiled “Thats pretty cool, I actually grew up near here, over on 42nd and Main.” I turned to her suddenly “Hold on, I lived on that exact same street!” I said as I could see a surprised look appear on her face. “No way, did you go to Jacobson high school?” she immediately responded. I stared at her with a look of disbelief and in a higher tone than I meant to, said “Oh my god, I did!” she seemed surprised and joyful and that’s when I couldn't hold in my laughter any longer. I started to join her in giggling, even though my laughter was for a completely different reason. “I’m sorry, I was just kidding.” I managed to get out in between breaths “I was going to stop it sooner, but I was honestly afraid of what would happen if I did.” I noticed her laughter had ended shortly after admitting that. She gave me this look of pure, fiery hatred, and I’ll admit, for a couple of seconds, I was legitimately worried. she slowly let out a laugh and playfully punched me in the arm, saying “You are lucky, I was afraid this was going to get too cliche, pretty soon I expected each of us to be sitting outside, looking at the stars and discussing life choices.” I relaxed, let out a chuckle and secretly thanked god that she was cooler than I had pinned her for. We had finally reached Flannigans and as I noticed the clock, I had actually made in 13 minutes (which I was also thanking god for, considering I had actually only made that time once before.) I found a parking space and pulled in. I had just finished asking her if she needed anything else, when she pulled my hand toward her, pulled out a pen and wrote down her number, and in the most sappy, cheesy written fashion, said “Yeah, I’m gonna want you to call me tomorrow.” She gave me that warm smile smile that first drew me to her, as if the exact same smile was releasing me, and left. As I stared at the number on my hand, I realized one thing, that this girl was special.

I pulled into the parking lot of Aces, and everything began to rush back to me. As I got out of my car, I realized that maybe going to the same bar I met my now recently ex-girlfriend at, wasn't a good idea. At the same time though, I needed a drink and couldn't think of another place to get one. I made my way inside and was welcomed by the old familiar rustic look of the bar I used to know, I looked around and took a seat at the bar. Some indie artist was playing over the speakers while a bearded guy with a beanie was cleaning some glasses behind the counter. He was humming along with the tune when he noticed me, “Oh hey man, sorry I didn't notice you over there.” he said with the slightest bit of what seemed to be an irish accent. “You’re fine” I sighed out “can I get two shots of spiced rum and a dos XX?” he looked kind of surprised, but shook his head and brought out the dos XX. He popped the lid off and brought out two shot glasses as I watched, he filled them with the spiced rum, he followed with a short almost impulse-like chuckle. “so I’m guessing you lost your job?” he asked raising his eyebrow. I downed one of the shots and for a split second I realized I had forgotten why I needed a drink. “try girlfriend.” I said after the second shot had finally settled. He looked at me, then reached over the counter and patted me on the back “I’m sorry fella” he said “Just let me know if you need anything else, I technically shouldn’t do this but it's on the house, just don't go overboard.” he made his way across the room with a book in one hand and a couple of beers in the other. I had stopped paying attention at that point and started sipping my beer.

"This isn't happening" I thought to myself as I struggled to get myself organized. It was only our second date and I was running late, I had forgotten about it and decided to go running with my friend, fast forward three hours, and I got a call from her making sure We were still good to go, yeah I know, it wasn't my brightest moment. I checked my watch and saw that it was 6:30pm. We were supposed to be going to see a movie that started at 7:15pm, I tried to focus on one thing at a time as I cleaned up, put on some deodorant and started brushing my teeth. Surprisingly enough, I was clean and out of my house at 6:45. I arrived at her apartment and saw that it was 6:59, I gathered myself and walked up the steps, allowing myself to breathe a little with each step. I knocked on the door and after about 30 seconds, she opened it and gave me that smile that I had been waiting for. “Hey, hold on let me get my purse real quick” she said as she slid on her shoes. We ended up making it to the theatre just in time and had managed to slide into our seats just as the lights dimmed and the movie started to play. Afterwards, we decided to get dinner and since it was feeling particularly nice outside, we ended up at a playground swingset. “whats wrong with the color blue? Its a perfectly fine color” she laughed and started to mock me in a playful tone “Oh, whats wrong with blue? Blue is a fine color” I stared at her and cleared my throat “Ok then, if you are a color expert, why don’t you tell me what the ideal favorite color to have is” she stood up from the swing, stepped over in front of me and began to explain “Well personally, I’d like to think that my favorite color is the best” she looked at me and raised her eyebrow. “Well, dontcha want to know what it is?” I exaggerated a sigh and in the most annoyed tone I could perfect, I replied “Ok, I’ll bite, what’s your favorite color?” she smiled and said “You’ll have to guess, but you only have three guesses, you have until next time to figure it out.” to me, this seemed kind of unfair, but I agreed and we made our way back to her house. Outside her door, we said our goodbyes and as I hugged her, she whispered to me “and if you guess it correctly before then, you also get a goodbye kiss.” she smiled and held out her hand “But that’s if you decide to trust me?” I smiled, shook her hand and replied “I’ll shake on that.” she smiled and went inside and with that, I made my way down the stairs and to my car.

I looked down at my now empty beer and noticed the bartender again, sitting alone in that booth. “Could I get another two shots and two beers this time?” I semi-shouted from across the room. He paused, marked his page and closed the book he was reading. “Sure man” he said as he got up and made his way over behind the counter. “Can I ask you a question” he said with a hint of something more than just curiosity, like he had a point to prove along with his question. I nodded yes as he poured the drinks; he slid them over to me and then poured himself a couple of shots. “This girl,” he started slowly “how long were you two together?” I sighed and downed one of the two other shots. “We were together for five years today” I opened my beer and started working on it. It felt almost like a dream, one of those dreams you want to wake up from but you can't, and there’s just something about it that’s off for some reason. He sighed again and followed up with “What's your name man?” I looked at him and hesitated for a second. “Kyle, what about you?” he walked around to the other side of the counter and sat next to me. “My name is Jared” he said as he finished off his second shot. He turned back to me and put his hand on my shoulder “Well, i’m sorry Kyle, I actually just went through a break up myself.” he said “We’d been together for 3 years, me and her, best part of my life, I'd like to think.” I shook my head and asked him “How did it end?” he forced out a fake chuckle that rang of desperation. “I came home one night from the bar to find everything in order and tidy, but went into my bedroom and found some other guys boxers in my hamper” he shook his head and took a swig from his beer “Later that night, after a lot of questions and angry yelling, she basically told me that I didn't appreciate her anymore and she had found someone who did” he paused for a minute and continued “you know, I always thought after that, it would be so much easier to hate her, well I was wrong. I don't think I’ve ever missed a bad chapter in my life more than I miss that one.”

I didn’t know how to react, I didn’t even know this guy, but I felt like I could relate to him as if we were good friends, I suppose that’s what alcohol does to you though, well that and despair. “I just don’t understand how someone can tell you something, over and over for years, become a part of your daily routine, and then just tell you that they don’t love you anymore” I felt myself push the words out of my mouth before I had time to stop them. He looked at me and sat his beer down. “Man, I’ve been asking myself the same question for about a year now, they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, but in reality, what they don’t talk about is after you get the girl, after the credits roll and once life sets in, you also can’t choose who breaks your heart, and how for that matter.” I let it all soak in and we both sat there in silence for a while. “Did you really think she was the one though?” I asked him after finishing off my beer. “I did, I really did, but the sad part is, I still ask myself if there was anything else I could’ve done, I know I believed she was “the one” but did I make her feel like she was?” I took my last shot and decided to call it a night “Man, it was nice talking to you Jared , but I’m drunk and I’d rather talk to you while I’m sober.” he chuckled and reassured me that anytime I needed to come in, he was going to be there. I stood up and made my way to the door, I knew I shouldn’t have drank, but at the same time, I didn’t give a shit. I walked to my car in the still pouring, freezing cold rain and stumbled into the back seat of my car. I pulled out my phone and found jessicas number, I started texting her something when I felt myself start to drift asleep.

“Okay, now you're gonna have to hold still and trust me on this one.” she said, taking her hands off my shoulders, reminding me to keep my blindfold on, giggling in the process. “Okay, you can take it off now.” she said in a high pitched voice that rang with excitement. I slowly pulled off the blindfold and looked around, it was the same park that we stayed at the year before. I felt her arms wrap around my shoulders and her head lay on my back. “So, you remember this place?” she said, already knowing the answer. I turned around to face her and looked into her eyes “I’m not sure” I said sarcastically as I looked around trying to hold back a chuckle. She playfully punched me and leaned in for a kiss, now there weren't any sparks, then again there never really was, but i can say this, every time I kissed her, I lost myself, and I mean that in the most non-cliche, and the least sappiest way possible, but time just seemed to drag on and it felt like it could've gone on forever. We made our way over to a clear spot of grass and laid down. It was a couple minutes of silence before either one of us spoke up, and I think part of the reason why was just to take in the pure beauty of the night sky. It was at that point that I asked myself why people spend so much money and effort trying to buy the "perfect gift" for one another when you could find the most intimate, amazing things for free. "You know, we gotta stop doing this" she said as she rolled closer to face me "Oh really," I said running my fingers through her hair, "and what would that be?" She smiled and placed her arm over my stomach "We gotta stop being this cute, I mean it's getting disgusting, we are out here staring at the freaking stars for gods sake" "Fair enough" I chuckled out "we are pretty cute I'd say, the other young couples in town might get suspicious, like maybe we're too cute" she laughed and faked this terrible Russian accent "they are going to find out about the mission" and felt the need to tack on an additional "comrade" to the end of it and I could see that she was clearly entertaining herself quite well. "Well, we must be very convincing to these American pigs" I said "they haven't even asked about the mission" to which she cut me off "which is?" I laughed and tried my hand at a paranoid Russian accent "I uh...we have to....stop, the vodka distribution here for the soviets?" She lost it and started laughing uncontrollably "The soviets?" She asked now scooting on top of me. "Really, that's the best you could come up with?" I looked at her and tried my best to explain myself, but even I didn't have an excuse for that one. We both were laughing and I had one of those many crucial moments, when I stared into her beautiful brown eyes and realized that I was lucky to be with this girl, and that I loved her, I couldn't take my eyes away and tried my best to imagine my life without her, but just couldn't imagine myself as happy as I was at that moment. It was then that I started to wonder if she felt the same way, but as she leaned in to kiss me I gratefully took that as a yes.

I slowly opened my eyes to the sounds of rain and thunder, I raised my head and looked around. I forgot where I was for a split second as I tried to remember what had happened the night before. I stretched my arms and looked around some more realizing I was in my car. My head hurt and my neck was sore from sleeping in such an awkward position, I sat up and checked my phone. The first thing i noticed was that it was 10:30, the second thing i noticed was that I had 5 missed calls from Jessica. My heart jumped a little just seeing her name and as I unlocked my phone I had to remind myself of everything that had happened, the whole reason I even went to the bar. I decided to wait before calling her, I needed to get my head straight and make sure that I was even ok to talk to her, the last thing I wanted to do was scare her off, especially if there was a chance we could end up patching things up. I climbed into the driver's seat and made my way back to the apartment, as I made my way up the stairs I couldn't help but ask myself a million questions.

I got into my room and changed out of my cold, wet clothes. I pulled my phone out and stared at the screen with my missed calls, I decided to just call her and figure out what to do. It seemed like the phone was ringing for ages before I heard it stop and a brief pause before her voice said “kyle?” I felt my heart drop again, like when she first told me she didn't want to be with me anymore. “hey” I said, trying my best to sound calm. She waited a while before answering but slowly said “I think we should talk in person."


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