My heart raced and I felt my head begin to pound. Go with him? Go to Paul's? Actually voluntairily congratulate him and his new wife? Look her in the eye and say "I hope you two lead happy, long lives together?" Could I do that? Could I physically set foot in their happy home? It was obvious that their happiness and joy and.... and.... love ..... would be bubbling over. Would I be able to take that?
"John, I - I can't just now. You go, have fun, make your peace with them," I said staring at the ground.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm tired and I'm supposed to be meeting Francis for dinner in an hour." My eyes stayed glued to the floor, the stare unbroken. I heard John sigh as h e tilted my chin up to meet his eyes. He made like he was going to say "are you sure?" but instead, he let it go.
"Okay," he said letting me go, "but do you at least want a ride home? Or to the restaurant?"
I shook my head, "Nah, I'll be fine. I can walk, it's a nice day today and the resturant is only a few blocks away, but thanks anyways John."
"Anytime babe," he said. He leaned in and gave me a peck on the cheek and a quick hug. "I'll see you tomorrow, right?" he asked half-way out the door.
"Yeah, what is it, four o'clock?"
"Uh, yeah, around then is fine. Tell Frankie I said 'hi' okay?"
"Will do, bye John."
"Bye O." And with that, John bolted out the door. I moved over towards the window and rested my elbows on the splintered wooden window pane. Almost instantly John popped out the front doors and down the street. Only a blurred brown image amongst the drab, grey world around him. I sighed a deep sigh and stood up and streched, peeking at my wristwatch to check the time. Seven already? I had to meet Francis in an hour. I didn't want to though. The last thing I needed was Francis and his bullshit. I fell down into the green slime chair and closed my eyes. How did my life get like this? How did I let it spin out of my control without even noticing until it was too late and my quiet little world was shattered, never to be fixed or put back together. First I lost the love of my life, then I find out that he's gone off and married someone else? On top of that (as if that weren't bad enough) the man that I'm seeing is an arrogant piece of shit that sees no good in anything or anyone. Pessismistic beyond belief, cynical beyond repair, and dark beyond my taste. So why did I keep seeing him? Why did I continue to call him, go out with him, spend any time whatsoever with him?
I opened my eyes and stood up from my seat. I grabbed my coat, checked myself out in the mirror to make sure that I was decent enough to step out into public, not really caring if I was or wasn't, and stepped out the door into the lobby. The long, white, lonely hallway echoed as my heels clicked on the tile floor and out the front door. It was colder outside than I had expected and I shivered as the brisk winter air filled my warm lungs. I began to walk down the street towards the restaruant where Francis would be sitting breaking breadsticks and drinking his free water waiting for me.
Everyone around me seemed to be in such a hurry to get to wherever they were going, so busy, so urgent. When did life get so urgent? What happened to the carefree days of childhood and adolescence when there seemed to be so much time to spare, so much time ahead of us that it didn't matter if we were late to school because the sunrise over the hill was just too beautiful to pass up and skip, or if we came home late at night from a date because that one last kiss was too good to ignore and end the evening. Now it seems that there isn't any time to do anything. No time to stop and admire the sunrise, no time to spare for one more kiss, no time for anything. There is always someplace to be, someone to be with, something to do.
I became so invovled with my thoughts that I almost passed up the restaraunt that I was supposed to be meeting Francis at, not that I would have felt terribly deprived if I hadn't.
Not surprisingly, Francis was sitting at the table in the very back