14

Take you to the point
Of never believing
And you’re tired of me
My love

“No One Here” by The 88

“You were right.”

He turned around, the leaves under the sole of his shoe crackling like firewood.  He inhaled slowly, the cold air piercing his lungs.  He was drowning, he could feel it.  Though there was no water.  He was standing and he couldn’t breathe, his legs slightly quivering.  He looked up at the sky, his chin jutted, and the grey reflected in his eyes, the overcast hue affirming his own emotion.

He shrugged, scoffing.  Air issued out of his mouth, the cold getting to him.  He didn’t say anything and she stepped a tad closer.  The faded, tightened waves of hair blew in the wind and she tucked a lock in her ear.  She was in her signature beanie and she was shivering too.  But the moment was too heated to ignore.

“Right?” he snapped, his head jerking.  “That’s all you can say? We’re not in a rom-com, Kat. You just can’t say stuff like that and expect everything to be okay.”

She shut her eyes as she nodded slowly, guiltily.  “I know, Jim, I know.  He led me on and I thought… I thought he was the one.  He was perfect, or at least I thought he was.  But I was wrong, and you were right.  I say only that because that’s all there is to it.”

He held his tongue with bated breath, his heart thudding.  He could’ve sworn she heard the sound, as the whistling of the wind grew louder.  The leaves on the trees quivered and they rustled.  Central Park was beautiful in autumn.  It was full of color, of vibrance, of happiness.  The trees were as beautiful and have colors as bright as their dying youth, and ironically will fade completely once they age.

Six months he had aged too, and his mind had grown old.  He was cynical just like the rest of them, picking up their battle axes to crush the dreams of the ideal youth.  She won’t love you, he had said.  She will just run away with some other guy after she’s done with you.  She’ll never come back.

But she did.  She was standing in front of him, looking as old as he did.

“Wasn’t I enough for you, Kat?” he asked.  He did not demand.  His blue eyes pierced her guilty hazels and his opulent stare got her flushing crimson.  Oh, innocent Jim.  Kat held her hand out, tugging at the sleeve of her leather trenchcoat and brushed her fingers against his skin.  “I’ve realized so much, Jim…”

“You do know that I won’t be waiting for you forever, right?” Jim said, snatching his hand away from her grasp.  “You do know that I’m not going to be chained to this… this insanity? You never loved me the way I did.  You were enough for me but I guess I’m not enough for you.”

“Jim…”

He shook his head.  “You can’t do that to me, okay? You can’t.”

“Jim, let me finish,” Kat said.  “Yes, I did cheat on you with Harry.  I did, and it’s something I’m never bound to forget.  I’m tainted, okay? I tried to look for something else because I wasn’t satisfied with my life.  I was falling apart, I didn’t know what to do.  I have no control over my job, my mortgage, everything… I felt like I didn’t deserve everything that you’ve done for me.  The mere fact that you still loved me told me that I was wrong for you.”

She was crying now and Jim looked at her, resisting himself from wrapping an arm around her shoulder and letting her cry on his chest.  No, not this time, he thought but his heart hurt.  It did, just like all the other days.  It did.

“I can’t even look past Harry and not think of you, Jim.  I see you in him and I was so proud, so so proud of not falling down one more time that I held onto this sin, this crime just so I could prove myself wrong and suffer in a choice I could never admit to be stupid.”

“Kat…”

“No one loves me like you do, Jim,” Kat finished quietly, her tears now apparent.  “No one can love like you.  And god, I’ve been such a waste.  I should have held on to the one thing that I had done right.”

She said it.  There, the whole truth just splayed all over.  He wasn’t going to find anyone else.  He wasn’t going to wait for someone else to come along.  Kat was the one, despite everything.  He wouldn’t be able to replace the feisty, braid-loving Kat Waters because he wouldn’t find one just like her.  Screw Harry.

“Don’t you ever get tired of me?” Jim finally let out a laugh.  It had been so long.

She shook her head, a smile playing on her lips.

“But you do know that this won’t be the same? I’ll be more guarded, more cautious.  We won’t be the same anymore, Kat.  We won’t be.”

She stepped even closer and he slipped her arms around her waist.  “We never had been.”

And just like that, they both grew young again but slowly.  They’d hold each other like this, missing the feel of each other as they are enveloped in what had been and will be again.

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