by Chelsea Donahue
When she saw him in that parking lot, she knew that there was not going to be a way for her to leave again like she had before. She remembered standing at the airport, having already gone through security, and watching him look at her desperately, begging her to fight her way back through the line and promise him a life she wasn’t ready to commit to.
“What are you doing here?” he asked her, walking up to the window of the black sedan, the car she had driven during high school. It was the same car where they shared their first kiss, spilled Dairy Queen on the console and created endless memories. When she had pulled it out of the garage, everything had come flooding back to her as if it had just been the previous summer. The car was a time capsule of true love, hiding under a tarp in her childhood home garage, an unavoidable photo album to which she held the keys.
“My parents died,” she said, looking up to meet his green eyes. They were the same eyes she had looked into as she broke his heart and forced herself to let go so long ago it felt like a different lifetime. The pain flooded back into her heart, but as she had trained herself to do a thousand times over, she choked it down and shrugged, “I have to be here for the funeral.”
“I’m so sorry… nobody told me. Is there anything I can do?” he asked genuinely, still deeply and hopelessly in love with her. Time had done nothing to change his feelings, and he couldn’t imagine that a love as real as they had would be one sided. He knew that she was in love with him, too, and he just wanted to heal the pain that she must be feeling. He knew that since she left, she hadn’t been back.
“Can you just get in the car, and we’ll just drive? It doesn’t matter who we’ve been or who we’ll be, all that matters is who we are on some back road in this black car.”