Such is life

She sat quietly sipping her hot chocolate in the little café. To the passerby she seemed at ease, but anyone who had been there long could tell that she was anxious. Every few minutes she looked up at the clock as if hoping it would say something to comfort her. But hearing nothing she would again take out the well folded letter and read it for the hundredth time. She rested her head on her hand and looked out the window. The frost had framed the windows in a translucent white and the children were in the near by park having a snowball fight. She smiled remembering her own childhood. Had it not been for the bell on the café door she wouldn't have realized that the very person she had been waiting for had just walked in. He was taller than she expected and his features had become more defined, his brown hair seemed lighter but she would know him anywhere, no matter how many years had gone by, if only by his eyes. She smiled in greeting but there was sadness in her eyes. He walked over to her table and sat down across from her. Neither said a word at first, both not wanting to say what they came to say, but the silence became too unbearable.

"I got your letter." She said.

"Yes," he said, "I know."

"So, what did you want to tell me?" She said. He looked up helplessly. She held her breath.

"There's no easy way to say this," he began, rubbing his temples, "especially with our history being what it was, but I thought you should know. I mean we've known each other since elementary school."

"Please," She interrupted, "just say it."

"I'm getting married." He said. With those three words the hope in her eyes flickered and died like the last candle on a birthday cake.

"Well," she said, trying to be happy, "Who's the lucky girl?"

"You know who…" he replied.

"Kerri?" She asked.

"Yes."

"I always knew that you two would end up together. You're perfect for each other. Even when you told me you were over her I never believed it."

"Lira, are you okay?" he looked at her carefully.

"I'm happy for you Aaron. I'm glad you've found someone that you love and that loves you."

"Lira, there's another reason I'm here. Kerri and I want you to come to the wedding."

"I'd be happy to. When is it?"

"We're getting married on Christmas."

"Well you go ahead and send me an invitation and I'll RSVP." She said with a smile.

"I'm glad you're taking this so well." Aaron said.

"As long as you're happy."

"Well Lira, I'd like to stay but I have to be fitted for my tuxedo."

"It's good to see you again. Drive safely and tell Kerri I said hi."

As he left the little café he mentally complimented himself on how well he handled the situation. But in his happiness he hadn't seen the smiles were forced, that the news was a shock, he hadn't noticed the tears brimming beneath her eyes, the tears that broke free as he turned to leave. She watched him drive off from her table. She paid her check and left the waitress a tip. As she was walking out of the café she paused by the trashcan. Composing herself and wiping away the tears, she let the letter gracefully fall into the blackness of the trashcan.

As the weeks went by, she tried to put the wedding out of her mind. She tried to forget the meeting at the café. Every night she would burry herself in her work to distract from the invitation hanging on her refrigerator door. But regardless of how hard she tried every night she would cry herself asleep. She tormented herself with the realization that she would soon loose him forever. But it was not this realization that brought the tears, it was the cold understanding that, he was never hers to loose. No matter what fate had done to conspire against her, Lira knew that it was her fault for never telling him the whole truth, for never revealing to Aaron that she loved him.

When the wedding day arrived, she almost didn't go. Yet she found herself getting dressed and wrapping the present, searching for her car keys and walking down to the garage. She put the gift in the back, put on her seatbelt, adjusted the mirrors and put the key in the ignition. Then she sat there. Lira was suddenly overcome with a powerful sense of déjà vu. She painfully recalled the night that she had told Aaron that they could no longer be friends, that she cared for him too much, that she didn't want to talk to him and she didn't want him to talk to her. It was the worst night in her life. Yet as she turned the keys in the ignition she feared that this night would run a close second.

The moment she dreaded had come.

"Speak now or forever hold your piece." Declared the minister. Everything in her screamed to say something, screamed for her to stand and tell the truth. But her lips stayed closed. Her voice stayed silent. Clutching the program in her hands she wept, she wept, not for the beauty of the wedding, or for the happiness of the couple, she wept for the loss of someone she loved. Though he was standing right there in front of her, he was gone forever.

After she returned home from the wedding she carefully laid down her keys and then made herself dinner. The normalness of a dinner alone somehow did not seem as comforting. Everything she saw became another reminder that she was alone. Having lost her appetite she changed into her pajamas and went to sleep.

It was her landlord that found her. The next morning she hadn't woken up. The coroner was at a loss. There was no trace of poison, and no sign that she had been killed or that she had killed herself. She had simply lost the will to live. She had died of a broken heart.