It was 2:03 am, and we were in an abandoned alley in the middle of a sleeping city. It was just the two of us for the first time in almost two years. I didn’t know what was going to happen, much less what I wanted to happen. All I knew was that we couldn’t get away from each other. We tried our best, but somehow, it never worked. So here we were, in the middle of the night, with no one else around. One way or another, everything always seemed to lead back to us.
You asked me questions about who I was and who I’d become. You wanted to know about my life and the people around me. You wanted to know why I was there and what I dreamt about. It was the first time that you’d ever seemed to care, or maybe it was just the first time that I noticed.
We stood in the alley talking about life and love for about an hour before you broke the ice and asked about us. You wanted to know what we were and what we were going to be, but I couldn’t answer you. I’d never been able to come up with a feasible plan for our lives; everything that I’d ever dreamt about had been crushed. I didn’t know what was going to happen between us, but I’d always been fearful that nothing would.
Things had never gone well for us before. I don’t mean that we had loved passionately until everything fell apart; I mean that everything fell apart all the time, nothing ever went as planned with us. So I couldn’t imagine a life ahead of us where everything magically fell into place. It just didn’t seem possible.
“Promise me one thing. If we make it to 40 and we’re still single, we’ll get married.”
You were always funny – never ceased to make me laugh, but this wasn’t meant to be funny. This time you were serious and somehow you actually meant it. I laughed because the concept was ridiculous, but then I explained that I had already made a pact with someone else. If I made it to 40 single, it wasn’t you that I’d be marrying.
“Okay, fine. Let’s get married at 30. If we’re still single at 30, there’s no one I’ll want more than you.”
I laughed again. “Deal.”
“What if we got married before then? Let’s take a chance and get married at 25. We’re meant to be. This is supposed to work out; I know it is.”
25 was only four years away. We’d hardly spoken the previous two years and spent most of our time avoiding each other, but you wanted me to promise you a life together just four short years away.
“Okay as in yes? As in let’s get married at 25?” you said.
“Yeah. Okay as in yes. Okay as in let’s give this a try for once, a real try. But on one condition.”
“If we’re going to make this work, if we’re actually going to get married in four years, we have to start now. We’re not allowed to avoid each other anymore, and we’re not allowed to ignore any of this.”
You stood there and told me that you didn’t know if you could do that. You didn’t know if you could promise me a life together right away. You didn’t know if you were ready right now, but you said that you would be in four years.
I tried to leave. I said that if you weren’t ready then, we wouldn’t ever make it. I argued with you, and I yelled. I tried to get you to understand that we couldn’t just wait four years and pretend like everything would be perfect just because we decided to get married. I wanted you to want me then; I didn’t want you to want the four-years-in-advance me.
Another hour passed, and all we had done was argue about who we were and what we were going to become. It was late – almost 4:30 am. I had to go to church in the morning, and we were both exhausted. We agreed to go our separate ways, but you promised me that we could talk about it in the morning when our heads were clear and our hearts were open.
Six hours later, I left church and I sent you a text, “Hey. We should talk about last night.”
“What about it?”
“You said that we could talk today. What about everything you said last night?”
“I was just tired, okay? I didn’t really mean any of that.” You said.
That was the end of our conversation that day; neither of us said another word. I was upset, and I had yet another chapter to add to our tragic love story, but still nothing was solved. Maybe you’d call me in a week and ask if we could mend things or maybe it really would be four more long years. Or maybe, just maybe that would be the last time we would ever see each other.