This story is a continuation of "Teach me how to say goodbye" chapter three "Daylight." I've been going through some tough real life situations with saying goodbye to friends as they move and dealing with the changes they are making in their lives. This story is one of the ways I'm dealing with a situation that happened last week, as well as a bigger change that a friend is making.
As this story is based on real people, the following disclaimer goes into effect:
*The views, actions, and opinions expressed by characters based off of real people do not represent the views, actions, or opinions of the people who provide the basis of those characters. Any accounts where the character's actions coincide with the people they are based on is a happy coincidence by the author.*
Also, special thanks to Teacup Audio for helping to provide the title and emotional inspiration for this story with her ASMR videos. Please go check out her youtube channel and leave a like, comment, or subscribe.
You walk towards the Olive Garden with your heart thudding painfully in your chest, and your stomach churning like you'd just gotten off of every single roller coaster ride at an amusement park.
It was simple. She just wanted to say goodbye, and then she'd move to Michigan and you'd never have to see her again.
You just had to walk in, say a farewell, and then everything would be somewhat okay.
You walk towards the restaurant, checking your phone as it buzzed with her text that she was inside and waiting for you. As your stomach makes one final attempt to throw up a nonexistent breakfast, you walk forward and open the door, seeing her sitting by the entrance.
Her face lit up in a smile as her eyes lock with yours, and you walk forward to accept her hug.
"Hey, you!" She smiles with her usual cheerfulness as she bounces on the balls of her feet, letting you go as she motions towards the waiter. "Shall we order?"
You nod softly and walk forward, letting her go first as you process the girl standing in front of you. You'd known her for seven years… starting in middle school and through high school, and now you were going off to two different colleges. You were best friends, partners, and had worked your tails off at a college prep school for five years. She knew all that and so did you, but what she didn't know was that you had loved her for all seven of those years… and love had brought you nothing but pain.
She was a perfectionist and an artist, and her only dream was to get a good college so she could earn a fashion major and use her talents to make the world a prettier place. So she threw herself into every project, every paper, every single college related activity to make her dream a reality. That meant she had to sacrifice other things, including your friendship.
As the years dwindled and the threat of exams loomed on the horizon, she became a recluse, either spending time in the library or at her home, cramming more information than was humanly possible into her brain. If you saw her, she was either begging you to quiz her or asking you to leave her alone so she could spend four more hours studying.
You loved her for her can-do attitude, but that can do attitude caused her to spend more time with a textbook than with you.
Every time she closed you down to cuddle up with her history book, or only had you around so you could ask her English questions, it hurt you just a little bit more. Especially since she never seemed to ask those things of anyone else.
With other guys, she was throwing her books aside to help them study, or to quiz them, or to comfort them with their stress… but you always got passed over for special treatment from her.
She took your eagerness to help and kind heart and made them weaknesses, turning them into places where the daggers she unknowingly threw at you could rest. By the time exams were over, you were a pincushion, looked over and taken for granted.
"Shall we order?"
Her voice shakes you from your flashback as you nod, looking at the menu as your stomach calms down a bit and she places her order. As she orders her meal, you order a small ice cream dessert, managing to keep your voice steady throughout it all.
As the waiter leaves your table, your eyes take in her beauty. Her brown hair, her black rimmed glasses, and the jewelry she was wearing. In particular, you notice a ring resting on her left hand. Before you can bring it up, she reaches into her purse.
"Oh, I forgot, before I move to Michigan tomorrow I got you a little gift." She smiles at you, her eyes shining with eagerness as she produces the gift. "Here."
All the bad memories leave you as she hands you a journal, with an embroidered fabric cover. A sword and a blaster make an x on the cover inside of a red heart, and it was all atop a blue background.
"I know you write fantasy, science fiction, and romance, so I made you a cover that works for all three! Check out the back."
You turn the journal around to see a guitar and a harmonica embroidered on the back as she smiled "Works for your music too."
"You made this?" You choke, fighting back tears as you flip through the pages, already wishing you could reach for a pen and write down the ideas that were flowing through your head.
"I did." She smiles then, her hand reaching out to rest on yours. "You're my friend, and you deserve it."
Your eyes shoot down to the ring resting on her hand and she bites her lip, tugging her hand away as the food arrives.
"So what are you writing now?" She asks, digging into her sandwich as you put the journal by you.
Nerves relax as you begin to talk about your writing, and you blush as how attentive she is, her eyes never leaving yours as you talk about your plans for the future.
You almost feel famous as she nods, hums, and acknowledges the ideas and plans you talk about. Everything from the status of your fantasy novel to building your science-fiction universe, she encouraged it all as if every idea was liquid gold, listening intently.
After you run out of steam with your stories, you bring up the past.
For the next hour, you make her giggle, shove you, tease you, and make her blush as you sift through seven years of memories.
"Do you remember the time we went to that dance hall and they created a ring where anyone could dance? I still hate you for dragging me in there!" She chuckles, blushing deeply as she sips her drink to hide it.
You smile at the memory, she was a great dancer, but she just needed one little push to dance out in public, so you pulled her into that circle and let her dance.
Three months later she was enrolled in a Scottish dancing course and had been dancing that way for five years. It made her happy, and she was good at it, and you loved watching her move herself to the music.
"Anyway." She muttered, her mirth subsiding. "I need to tell you something. You remember Jake right?"
Rage flashes behind your eyes for a millisecond before you blink. How could you forget Jake!
She'd met him at a Scottish dancing competition and they'd begun dating almost a month afterward. He was a wonderful guy and treated her right, but you hated him.
You'd been in love with her since the day you met her, and suddenly Carth waltzed into her life and she was enamored and out with him every chance she could get.
At the beach, at movies, heck he even joined the same dancing class as her! Suddenly you were in second place again, not only at school but also outside of it… and you hated him for it.
Still, you couldn't deny that he made her happy and she always perked up when he was around, so you closed up whenever he was mentioned and went through the motions when she talked about him only showing your true self when he wasn't mentioned.
"I remember Jake," You say softly, hiding your anger from her as your stomach does a belly flop.
"He got into the same college as me and well…" She sighs, lifting her ringed hand and placing it by your face. "He put a ring on me."
You scoff softly, attempting to deny the truth as you examine it. It was probably a promise ring or an 'I'll wait for you ring' or something silly.
Until you see the gem, and the diamond was too massive for any silly ring.
The world falls out from under you as you grip the table, sucking in a breath. A ring like that could only mean they were getting married.
You bite your lips as a torrent of questions fills your brain, born to you on a wave of rage, and you refuse to let it out. "Wow…" You finally let out a small breath, swallowing the rage as her hand retracts.
"We're getting married in Michigan, hopefully soon." She blushed, her eyes looking down at the ring. "I'm sorry you had to find out this way."
Your head nods automatically as you push your half eaten and now fully melted ice cream away, struggling to do anything to remain calm and collected. Making an emotional scene in a restaurant wasn't the way to deal with this problem.
"Whatever," You finally choke out, attempting to put on a nonchalant face as you struggle to keep yourself calm. The background ambiance of the restaurant had faded away, leaving only a soft buzzing in your ears. "I'm really glad you're getting married and Jake is a great guy. You deserve it."
With your stomach churning and your heart pounding, you take a sip of water and keep your eyes on the table, focusing on the wood and plastic. Self-pity wells up inside of you like a volcano and you feel the pressure stretching your skin and crushing your insides… but you refused to let it out because if you did… you'd harm her.
"I know." She whispers, tears staining her eyes as she shudders. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier, but with school and college and the move… there was never a right time. Maybe there never was."
"I know you love me and you always have… but I just wasn't ready to have a boyfriend like you and then when Jake came along, he fit my mold perfectly. Then we just kept moving forward and then, you seemed okay with it." Her voice cracked slightly, and you knew she was holding her emotions back like you were… and that hurt. "I'm sorry things didn't work out between us, and I'm sorry."
Your teary eyes lock with hers as she closes her mouth, finally whispering in a voice so low you barely hear it.
"So where do we go from here?"
You shake your head, wishing the floor would swallow you whole and give you an escape from this screwed up situation because you have no bloody clue.
"I don't want to lose you." You say, getting those words out through clenched lips and gritted teeth, "Only that could hurt more than this… but I need some time."
She nods, accepting the condition that you wouldn't be trading calls or emails the second she was in Michigan and nudges the remainder of her meal with her fork. "I'll give it to you, and I don't want to lose you either…. So take all the time you need."
Your eyes trace her again, your brain knowing that she'd get married soon, and it was if someone replaced your best friend with a total stranger. You couldn't see her as a wife or mother… and even if you could, you always pictured yourself standing beside her.
Pushing your chair back, you signal the waiter for the check, struggling to compose yourself as he walks over. Reaching into your pocket, you smooth out the bills and place them inside, letting the waiter walk away.
Before she can object, you crack a half smile. "I'll pay, your meal was six dollars, and mine was two. It's easier."
As she replaces her purse, you look back down. You always paid for girls at movies, events, and restaurants… and even though she'd hurt you, you could still make paying the last kindness that she'd receive in person from you.
The waiter soon returns with your change and you stand up, stretching softly as you stand in front of her. "I want you to know, married or not, I'll love you always."
"I'll always love you too"
You lean forward to embrace her, taking her in your arms and squeezing her tightly like you always did during a hug, feeling her body meld to yours. She fit around you when you hugged, and that was one of the many reasons you loved hugging her, one of the many reasons you loved her.
"I never wanna let you go" You growl, almost wishing you could steal her away from Michigan, and college, and growing up… just by the force of your hugs.
You feel her breath tickle your ear as she giggles "We're in a public place, I think you'll have to let go."
"Hugging doesn't even classify as PDA anymore," You grumble, before letting her go "It's practically ignored."
She still looks around at the uninterested patrons before leading you outside. "Good to know."
You blink as the door opens and sunlight beams down on you, walking into the parking lot with her as you both sight your cars.
No words are necessary as you hug her again, lifting her off her feet as she squeals and rubs your back, both of you holding on for dear life as if everything depended on the last hug.
Finally, you set her down and she leans up to press her lips to yours, holding you close as you tighten your grip. It's the furthest thing from a romantic kiss, but it was yours.
You deepen it, feeling her respond eagerly, not with romantic passion or lust or hunger, but with the acceptance that this was something you both needed to say goodbye.
After about a minute, you both pull away and she smiles through a fresh batch of tears.
"Goodbye you, call me when you're ready okay?"
"Goodbye, have fun in Michigan." You respond, turning around to walk towards your car.
You don't look back as you get in, but you do stay in that parking lot and wonder about where it all went wrong. Maybe if you'd cared a little less and she'd cared a little more, then the impossible dream of becoming a couple wouldn't be so impossible.
As you finally drive away, you notice her car still in the parking lot, and you wonder if the same thoughts were going through her head.
Her car starts and she pulls away, heading back to her home, Michigan, and soon to be married life.
You whisper a final goodbye to her, wondering why it had to be so damn hard for you to let her go, and why saying goodbye was something you just couldn't do cleanly.
Still, she'd always hold a place in your heart… and if that was the last kindness you ever did for her, then it would be enough.
I hope you enjoyed the story.
Please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a great day!