Dreaming about Providence

And whether mice or men have second tries

Maybe we've been living with our eyes half open

Maybe we're bent and broken

We want more than this world's got to offer

We want more than this world's got to offer

We want more than the wars of our fathers

And everything inside screams for second life yeah

We were meant to live for so much more

Have we lost ourselves?

The doorbell rang with a hollow sound. Rochelle stared at the darkly stained wood and waited for it to open.

When it did, her eyes went wide.

He stood inside, half-shadowed and in a white tank top and black pants. His eyes snapped open when he saw who it was.

"Oh…Jesus…no…whoever you are, I'm having a bad day. Come back later."

He started to close the door, but Rochelle put her hand on it and kept it open. "It's me."

He shook his head quickly and edged backwards. "No, no it's not. It never is. Please, just go away."

"Are…are you ok?"

"N-no. I…I'm just…"

"You're…crying."

She stepped in and peered into his face. He looked down, but not quickly enough to hide the water filling up his lower lids. He sniffed and pulled away.

"It's just," he started. "I…haven't been myself. It's been this way for a long time."

"Three years?"

"Yeah. I…I feel like crap all the time. I think about her…always. And it hurts…it just hurts so bad…" He started to choke up and grabbed his upper arms, trying to squeeze away the sobs.

"I want to throw up…I want to just throw up whenever I remember. My pills…they don't work. Nothing does. The shrink…says I need more time. But the more time I take, the more it hurts!"

He sat down on a two-cushioned couch and buried his face in his palms. Rochelle sat next to him, her hand on his shoulders. She didn't dare move; afraid to lose the touch she had needed for so long.

"I…need…her. But…I messed it all up! I can't now…I can't ask her to forgive me! I've…I've forgotten…"

"Forgotten what?" she ventured, barely breathing.

"I've forgotten what she looks like! Her form, her face, it's all faded away! All I remember is her laugh, and her personality. Her touch…"

He stopped and moved his hand over hers on his shoulder. Gingerly, he touched her fingers and his hand sprung back.

"She was stronger than me; she went on living while I rotted away in this limbo! I'm nothing without her! I have no reason to go on living a normal life! I quit my job because my shrink told me it reminded me of her. I got a new one, far away from her house. I joined the military to get out of the country, away from her. But she keeps coming back.

"My mind…it's always working against me. Makes me think I'm seeing her, talking to her. I think she's next to me, holding me. But she isn't! It's just some trick of the light, and I-…"

And for the first time since opening the door, he looked at her. His face was twisted and covered in smudged tears. He winced, staring at her face like a tortured child kept too long from something it dearly, dearly treasured.

Rochelle couldn't stand it any longer. She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed into his chest. Hugging for dear life, she felt it when he took in a sharp breath and squeezed her tightly in an embrace.

"But…but how? Why?" he struggled. "You…you're real this time! How…how could you forgive me?"

"There was never anything to forgive!" she sobbed. "I love you, damn it! I love you, I love you, I love you and I'll never let you do this to yourself again! I love you too much to ever let you go through this kind of pain again!"

He tried to hold back. "My pain? What did I do to you? You…you…you don't even seem to care what I did to you! Don't you hate me? Don't you want to kill me for how I just…ended us like I did? I was so incredibly, unforgivably stupid!"

"But I love you! It doesn't matter now; it's all done! We're together again and it doesn't hurt anymore and we can go on living! Please, god, tell me you love me back! Or if you don't, tell me so my heart can finally break instead of aching all this time! Just kill me instead of letting me die slowly for three years!" she pleaded.

"Oh god, baby, I love you with every cell in my body. I love you from the deepest part of whatever soul I have left. I love you, I love you, I love you!"

And they stayed, locking in an embrace, for a very long time.