“I’m not angry” SHE said through clenched teeth and with furrowed brow. “I’m disappointed. I know you didn’t mean to but you have destroyed the relationship that made me the happiest. You were wrong, I never said those things you said I did. I know this to be true no matter what you say because I have asked other people and they don’t remember me saying that either. I have lost so much and all I want is to be content and happy surrounded by the people I love and you have taken that from me. I know you didn’t mean to but it has happened and there is no reversing it. I’m not angry but I need time. I am struggling with this and some other things and I need time. One thing I know is I will never confide in you again.”

“But … you did say it. I don’t know when or why or in what context but you did, you absolutely did.” she replied with desperation in her voice and pleading in her eyes. “I know I can never prove it to you but why would I make something so inane up? What purpose would it serve? When I mentioned it in passing I never expected the words to take on so much weight. They were just words, a conversation, a common ground discussion, hot air expelled and formed into consonants and vowels, that is all.” She looked down at her hands and saw that they were shaking with the pain of the potential loss. “What can I do? How can I fix this?” she asked plaintively trying to hold back the inevitable tears. “I will do anything, do you want me to say I lied? I will! I will tell him that I lied – I … I made the whole thing up. Just please know that I never meant for my words to have such weight to cause so much pain.”

“No, no” SHE stated vehemently with a direct stare into her eyes and an accusing point of HER index finger “don’t try to fix this because you’ll only make it worse. He will never believe you if you go back now, he’ll think I’ve put you up to it. I don’t know why he is so angry about such a thing but he has decided to end our relationship based upon your carelessly tossed out words and he wants no discussion.”

“You’re angry and I don’t blame you to be honest” she said trying to sound contrite whilst hiding the pain in her voice. “You can’t help but hold me responsible for the break up even if you don’t blame me per se. If the tables were turned I would feel that way, anyone would. I’m sorry I am I’m so truly sorry for causing you such pain.” Taking a deep shaky breath she tried to swallow past the lump in her throat. “So … uh … when can I come over and see you guys?”

“I don’t know” SHE stated quickly and a little too loudly. SHE looked as though the sound of her voice even surprised her. “I know you’re sorry you keep saying that. I need time okay? You’ll have to give me that. I think you owe me that don’t you? I don’t know when or even if I’ll be able to reconcile myself to this but you have to give me time.”

“Yes, yes of course – time yes. Time is exactly what you need” she said a bit too brightly with a suspicious gleam in her eyes. “I’m … so I need to go now. Time is good, time heals all wounds.” Slowly she stood letting the chair scrape the floor hoping that SHE would look up from the pock marked table in front of HER. “Okay then … you … well uh … you take care of yourself and I’ll see … well I’ll talk to you … uh well you know what I mean. Call me okay? Please?” Turning to pull her jacket from the back of the chair she took two quick deep breaths to hold back the tears. “Listen, I love you okay?” she said breathlessly while swiping the moisture from her cheeks with her jacket sleeve.

“Yes, I know. Okay good-bye” SHE said quietly almost under her breath but with a tenderness she had not thus far displayed. “Drive carefully.”

With that she left, running her hands along the chair rail as she moved through the dining room reluctant to leave the room for fear she wouldn’t be invited back. Moving toward the front door her steps became smaller and faster and as she pulled the door open with a heave she began to sob just a little trotting toward her car parked on the street.

Once there she sat and stared through the windshield, hands gripping the steering wheel, lips quivering as tears silently streamed down her cheeks. After a moment she glanced almost guiltily toward the front room window and adjusting her rear view mirror she turned the key in the ignition. With an uncharacteristically fatalistic shrug of her shoulders she clenched her hands and gave the steering wheel one hard pound and put the car in gear. Once more she glanced back, hoping against hope that SHE would be standing on the front porch, waving good bye as SHE always had. There was no one there, just the blank black reflection of the living room window and the swaying now dormant forsythia swaying in the cold winter wind.

“Okay good-bye” she sighed into the silent car as she let off the brake and eased into traffic.

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