"Why are you confused? I've changed." he said.

"No. You're changing. You're not changed. No one can change in three weeks."

"I said sorry." he said.

"And I've forgiven you. …But I can't forget."

"Then, make a decision."

"I need time."

Time was all that she wanted.

"Why? Make a decision."

"I just can't. Not now. There's too much to weigh." she paused.

"I love you." she said.

"Isn't that what's important?"

"Most days. But not everyday."

"What does that mean?"

"I can't exorcise the past. …And neither can you." she said.

"…we need time." she said.

"Why? I miss you now. Am I supposed to wait for you?" he was getting frustrated.

"Maybe this was a bad idea." he said.

"Yeah… maybe it was."

"Maybe I should go." he said.

"Don't abandon me."

"You've already made that decision." he said.

"I didn't want this."

"What do you mean?" his voice raised.

"I need you." she said.

"No you don't."

"Don't abandon me." she said.

"Well, I can't stay."

...

…You love me." he said.

"I do."

"I love you." he said.

"I know."

With that, she started to cry.

"…but I just can't do it again." her speech gargled with crying breaths.

"Why not? I've changed. Don't you trust me?"

She hesitated, "I do." A lie.

"Then let's try again," he said, "Fresh start. Rewind one year. We've just met."

"I just can't." she said.

"Why not? …You know we can't be friends." he said exasperatedly.

"Why not?" her voice escalated to a throaty sob.

"We just can't." his voice escalated to a throaty yell.

"Don't disappear from my life."

He stayed silent.

"There is a grey area here that you're blatantly ignoring." she said.

"…You won't abandon me." she said.

"I can't do anything else for you." he said, throwing his hands into the air.

"Yes, yes you can."

"No, no I can't. I can't be in the room without wanting to hold your hand. I can't be in the same room with you without being able to kiss you on the lips. On the chin… on your forehead… on your eyelids…

…we can't be friends."

She stayed silent, tears running in rivers down her hot cheeks.

"Maybe I should go." he said.

She nodded.

"Maybe this was a bad idea." he said.

"I needed to see you. We needed to talk."

"I understand why you did it. But wasn't my coming here my second chance?"

She stayed

still.

She remained

quiet.

"I should go."

His eyes red, puffy, watering. He opened the door, swung his backpack over his shoulder, and told her: "I love you."

She sat stunned. She rushed to the door, swung it open, and said quietly, but loud enough to be heard: "I love you too."

And she shut the door behind her.

She threw herself onto the floor,

tore at her hair,

swore at herself,

what have I done? What have I done?

she vituperated herself,

I dragged this on too long.

For the first time in years, she screamed.

Pure, unadulterated anguish.

Yelling as if in tongues.

A phone call: doesn't matter who from.

She picked herself up,

paced the hall,

made herself up to go out,

and cried the whole way there.