WAIT FOR ME

The cold, evening breeze blew against my black jacket, the chill numbing my already clammy hands. The benches around the water fountain were partially empty, the loud chatter of the day replaced by the soft whispers of the night. Placing my hands in the warmth of my pockets, I looked up at the stars.

"Wow! The stars here are so beautiful," she remarked.

She smiled at me, her teeth shining beautifully in the darkness of night. I smiled back at her and quietly whispered, "Look at the star over there, the one flickering brightly on my right."

"It's a promise star," I continued, "When I was really young, my parents once told me that when two people make a promise under that star, it will never be broken."

"Really?" she asked, her eyes shining with enthusiasm, "Let's make a promise together!"

Extending her pinky finger forward over-enthusiastically, she continued, "Let's promise to always be together. Promise?"

Linking my pinky finger with hers, I answered, "Promise."

The clock in the town square rang eleven, finally breaking the passionate rhythm of the rustling bushes and waking me up from my reverie. I looked around once more and sighed. I had been waiting beside the water fountain for an hour now and yet, there was still no sign of her. I told her mom that I would be waiting for her here tonight. Did her mom tell her? Did she know I was here? Knowing her mom, she would have told her, so where could she be?

"She's standing me up", I tell myself, my pessimism getting the best of me. Why wouldn't she? I left her. I left her behind.

It was the day I said goodbye to her. Her once bright and cheerful eyes were bleak and glazed over. Tears were welling up in her eyes but she held them in, not wanting me to see her "weak". She avoided my gaze, her eyes staring off into the distance. I tried to talk to her but she refused to say even just a word. I hugged her but she didn't hug me back. She was cold, silent, numbing.

"I know it's selfish of me to leave but I really want to study there. You understand, right?" I whispered into her ear, "I love you. I always have."

Taking her hands into mine and forcing her to look directly at me, I continued, "I'll be back. It's just college. I'll come back to you."

She remained silent.

I pulled her close and pleaded, "Just promise me that you'll wait for me. Please tell me that you'll wait."

Still, she remained silent.

I checked my watch for the time and it read, 11:30 PM. One and a half hours. I had been waiting here for one and a half hours but there was still no sign of her. "She's not coming", I told myself. "She's not coming for you."

Taking one last glance at the park around me, I bent down, gathered my stuff and sighed. I guess, some promises are meant to be broken. Standing up and placing my backpack on my right shoulder, I was startled to see her standing in front of me, her hair disheveled and her clothes frumpy and creased.

"You were about to leave, weren't you?" she asked softly, hurt evident in her voice.

"I thought that you weren't coming anymore. I thought that you had forgotten me," I replied, my voice barely louder than a whisper.

Taking her hands into mine, I continued, "I thought that you left me, as I had left you…"

Breaking away from me and avoiding my gaze, she said, "I waited for you…"

She stopped, looked into my eyes and continued, "Couldn't you have waited for me?"

"I'm sorry," I whispered, "I…"

With tears running down her cheeks, she wrapped her arms around my neck and found comfort in my arms. And I found solace in hers.