No Second Chances in Sight
I never really believed it would be over. Up until the last minute, I thought there was a chance to make it. I was honestly that naïve. When it happened, my world was flattened; run over, trampled on, washed away- whatever you want to call it, I was devastated.
Let me rewind to a few months ago. I was dating Eddie McIver, and at the time I thought he was my soul mate. If I hadn't met Henry, I would still think he was my soul mate.
Henry was another volunteer at Love Medical, the hospital where I volunteered. He was assigned to be my partner, since I had been in the weekend volunteer group the longest and knew the hospital the best. It was practically a match made in heaven.
For the rest of the summer I completely forgot about Eddie between 8 and 6 on the weekends, but during the rest of the time I felt completely guilty. I should have broken up with Eddie, but I never did; I just grew farther from him instead.
Eddie was a great boyfriend, and really didn't deserve the kind of relationship we had towards the end. He was the kind of guy that you found only once in a while; he was an athlete but not a jock, and he was smart but not a nerd. He would bring me flowers on semi-special occasions or sporadically, and he never forgot a date, like my birthday, our anniversary; you name it, he remembered it. In fact, the only thing wrong with him was that he just wasn't Henry.
I honestly don't know why I fell so deep for Henry; it just sort of happened. It was slow but progressive, and it didn't take long for me to think of him as more than just a good friend. During those short 7 weekends during that summer, we were closer than I have ever been to anyone, even Eddie, and not once did we even kiss. It's funny: when I fell for Eddie it scared me, but with Henry it was just easy and felt so right, even though it was really wrong. I chastised myself for feeling the things I felt towards Henry, but I always knew I would feel it all over again the next time we saw each other.
It doesn't take a fortune teller to foresee that things would turn sour on me, but I had no idea things would get so bad. In fact, the minute things got bad started out as a great minute.
I was about to leave for the day, and Henry was leaving at the same time. We were walking together out of the hospital, and somehow he wound up holding me close to him, his arm around my waist. We meandered to the main lobby, taking our time, and I noticed that he smelled like waxy crayons from coloring with the kids.
I was falling deeper into the moment, absorbing everything from the way his body emanated heat onto me to how the florescent lights radiated on his skin. It felt as if a huge pink bubble had popped up around us, blocking us from the world bustling around us.
Looking back, I dearly wish I had retained some sense of the outside world. If I had, I would have realized that Eddie was in the lobby, staring at me as I walked down the hall with Henry. He never said anything, just stood there like ice, and I finally noticed him, much too late.
I jumped, literally jumped, and pulled away from Henry like he had burned me. He looked at me in shock, and I knew I had just ruined the moment with him, but I also knew I had ruined a whole lot more than just that.
"Go on," I urged him quickly, "I'll see you tomorrow." He looked doubtful, but I half-pushed him to the door.
"Um, I'll call you later," he told me uncertainly, my behavior clearly unnerving him.
"I don't think that's a good idea," Eddie said, suddenly appearing next to me.
"Who are you?" Henry retorted, confusing and a bit annoyed.
"Her boyfriend," Eddie told him shortly. Oh crap.
"Really," Henry shot back, his emphasis on the word underlining the fact that he didn't belief Eddie.
"Really," Eddie retorted stoutly, enforcing the word.
Henry rolled his eyes. "Since when?" He demanded to know.
"For months now," Eddie returned sharply.
I couldn't say anything to stop their banter, and I couldn't breathe. I saw everything crashing down around me, and while it was in fact my own fault, I had no idea what I could do to fix it.
I realized that they had stopped arguing and the lobby was silent, at least in my ears. The two boys were glaring at each other, anger burning in their eyes. I watched the light in Henry's eyes slowly faded, feeling as if I was watching him die, as his hatred dimmed to a dead sadness.
"Oh," Henry murmured at last. He slowly turned and walked out of the lobby and into the parking lot, before disappearing behind a row of cars.
It was then that I suddenly became painfully aware of Eddie watching me. "It's over," he told me flatly, his voice devoid of emotions. He too, made to leave the lobby, but then stopped suddenly and turned around, the door halfway open to the parking lot. "I really hope he's worth it," he said shortly.
I searched for the appropriate words to say, but my thoughts were on Henry. I managed to force the words, "I'm sorry," out of my lips, but Eddie's steps didn't falter as he continued to walk away.
As much as I wanted to, I couldn't bring myself to run into the parking lot to find Henry. I knew that Eddie would see me chasing Henry, not him, and I couldn't add insult to injury. He deserved more than that.
So I stood in the lobby and watched as both of their cars pulled out of the parking lot. I stood there for quite a while after that, unable to move and only thinking, my thoughts racing from how stupid I was to how to patch things up with Henry.
The next day, Henry was superficially cordial to me. I could see the pain and betrayal in his eyes though, and I knew the façade was only for the sake of the patients. I spent the day in an endless abyss of misery, able only to keep myself from crying.
At the end of the day we were dismissed as visiting hours came to a close, and I tried to confront him. He brushed off my slurred apology, and told me shortly, without looking at me, "I leave tomorrow. Don't try to call me."
He left me there, once again alone in the lobby, this time feeling a chasm of deadness swell within me.
I know that everything that happened was my fault. I know that I could have, and should have, handled things better. I know that he was right to be angry.
And yet, none of the things I knew provided any comfort to me as I lay awake that night, my eyes spilling tears onto my sheets.
I guess that's what I deserved though. It was my fault, after all.