“I thought…” He started, unable to finish. A million excuses, a million truths and lies clambering to get out of his mouth all at once trying to get to her ears first so that it’s the thing she wants to hear.
What was he thinking when he did it? Was it more of a thoughtless action, an attempt to do something where the consequences would not have come to fruition? When it started, did he honestly believe nothing would occur in the end, that the entirety of his efforts would go unnoticed?
“I thought…” he repeated, stuck on what to say next. He looks at her, taking in her expression, her attire, her stance. He makes a note of the color in her cheeks, the colors she decided to wear. He wonders why, in this particular moment, that while he can’t find an excuse, she is the most beautiful person to him.
Her dark, long hair, pale skin, tall, slender form hidden beneath a colorful winter jacket all are taken to his memory. He looks at everything before he can manage to speak, recreating her bare hands that are concealed in the gloves.
The winter night’s cold, silent darkness scratches into his throat as he takes a quiet breath pulling everything that was trying to get out back into him.
The two stand in the fresh snow that falls quietly, gently around and on top of them. The world around them is dark save for the spot under the streetlight that glows an ethereal blue-white light.
She stands there, taking in what he has said, waiting for him to explain himself in urgent anticipation. Disbelief is what consumes her, curiosity fills her, and the cold goes suddenly unnoticed as her cheeks fill with heat.
Everything about what he just said has betrayed everything she thought about him. Every conception, belief, feeling has suddenly been given a stamp of disapproval and now she wants to know why he decided to do what he did and why here and now.
Neither of them move, as if everything aside from the snow has decided to stop and focus on this streetlight, on this couple. The world’s balance seems to hang on what he has to say next. What he says will determine what she will do and very well change how the snow falls.
He stares into her eyes which have never seemed so bright and so dark ever before. He looks and looks hoping to see the answer paint itself across her face. He finally notices how much he is trembling, how fast his heart is beating.
He betrayed himself. He shouldn’t have said it, shouldn’t have admitted this truth that has gnawed at his soul for so long. He suddenly feels weak and wishes that his brain would shut off and faint. He doesn’t feel cold, but he feels his cheeks warm.
He was supposed to keep it a secret, keep it to himself and no one else. She would have never found out, she would have continued on and never known. To wish he could have taken the words back before reaching her ears is an understatement. To rewind time would not nearly be enough.
He wishes he didn’t exist at all and that this moment would just go away like a brief flutter of leaves in a tree when there is no wind.
“I thought…” He tries again, feeling something formulate itself on his tongue, needing a mere second to turn into something tangible. This was going to be the thing that decided whether or not the world would collapse on itself, that the sun would rise the very next day, that fire wouldn’t rain down from the sky and destroy all but him.
“…about this a lot.”
She flinches when he finally finishes, as if it confirmed somewhere in her that this wasn’t some horrible, cruel joke; that even though he doesn’t say it, it was certainly something that has been in him for a very long time.
“I… had to say it. It needed to be said, now or never and I had to tell you. It’s been something that has been welling up in me and…” He didn’t have anything else to say. He wasn’t sure if he should apologize or just walk away. He doesn’t expect her to understand right away, or ever for that matter.
He stares at those dark and bright eyes that stare into him, into his soul looking for anything that might be the source of a lie or a joke or some incredibility. He stares at those unmoving lips, waiting for something to come out, waiting for her retort.
His heart twists in his chest waiting, waiting for her to do something. He wants her to scream, to walk away to do anything that would allow him to know that he isn’t reliving one of his dreams or nightmares about this moment.
Her lips finally begin to part. Something in her is finally about to come out. What it is, not even she is sure of.
Surely some part of her has noticed or known. She has to had some sort of notion in her mind about him and now that he said it, confirmed it, she has no choice but to voice that she has known the entire time.
Her mouth moves, the snow falls, and the two stand there, staring at each other. For a moment, it seems as though the snow is suspended, that the world really did stop when she said what she said. Now, it is he who feels betrayed, that this entire time, she has know and didn’t say anything. She carried on without telling him, allowing this secret to eat away at him, to cause him to toss and turn in his sleep.
He doesn’t feel at ease now that he said it. In fact, now that she said something, he feels more weight on his chest than ever before as if all the memories he has of her, of them, have gathered in his lungs and wait for the next move.
The snow continues to fall, covering their footprints to this spot, as if everything up until now has vanished into white and darkness. They stand there for a very long time before one follows the other on this dark, and cold winter night.