When in the midst of a crowded Madison Avenue, Hannah materialized in front of me, my first reaction was to grin. She looked–if possible–even better than she had years ago, during the mind-blowing six months when she was mine. Her reddish hair was shinier, her eyes were like emeralds, and she had a glow about her that hadn’t been there before. Then my eyes slid down along her stunning body, and the grin froze on my lips.
“Joaquin,” she beamed, flinging tweed covered arms around me. “It’s been forever.”
I held my breath, using every ounce of self-control I possessed to remain strong.
Four years, seven months, and thirteen days.
“I know! It must be at least… three years now.”
She let go of my stiff-as-a-plank body and took a step back. A hint of Chanel Mademoiselle lingered in the air between us. Her emerald eyes fixed on me and I felt as though I was receiving a constant stream of electric shocks.
“More, I think. How are you these days?”
Never been worse, thank you for asking. Not a day has passed when I haven’t thought of you. When I ran into you, I thought God had sent you to me. That is, until I saw…
“I’m great. Although not as great as you, I’d imagine.”
As she looked down at her bulging belly, her smile grew wider, the dimples from the photo I kept under my pillow forming. I swallowed.
“Seven months,” she informed me. “I’m having a C-section in six weeks.”
And it should have been mine. I should have been the one making you glow. The baby growing in your belly should have been the fruit of our love, the most amazing love that ever existed. Yet because I made a mistake, it will never happen. He will get everything that was meant for me and I hate myself for allowing it to happen.
She nodded, raising her left hand for me to see. The glistening diamond was beautiful, no doubt about it. But compared to the ring I wanted to give her, it didn’t even come close.
“Two years married now.”
It wasn’t a lack of love that made me do those things, you know. But what do you do when you meet the love of your life too early? If you had been ten girls or so–even five–further down the list, I would have known. I wouldn’t have assumed that if something as amazing as our love exists, somewhere there must be something even better. Because there isn’t, and I realized that too late and now you’ve moved on.
“That’s great. Congratulations!”
She raised her mesmerizing face, looking straight into my eyes again.
“What about you? Are you…?”
She glanced down at my painfully barren fingers. Suddenly, they felt cold.
No, and I never will. Because I met the right girl too early and I wasn’t ready. It’s terrifying, looking into eternity when you’re only twenty years old. So I pushed you away. It wasn’t long before I realized my mistake–it was obvious–but by then you had already moved to Philly. And then there was Fredric.
“No. No one compares to you.”
She mock-punched my arm.
“Awww… you flirt!”
There’s so much I want to tell you. I can’t believe we ran into each other just like this. You know it’s a sign, right? It’s the universe telling us we’ve made a mistake. That we should be together and forget the past four years, seven months and thirteen days ever happened. Because I love you, Hannah, and I always will.
“I’ve got to go.”
She kept smiling. My inside collapsed into a black hole, sucking every ounce of life out of my body, leaving me with a hollow scream coming from the bottom of my heart. Still, I smiled back.
“I know. I don’t mean to keep you. You Wall Streeters.” She paused and I held my breath. “Well, it was great seeing you.”
Don’t go. Ask me to stay. Ask me anything and I will do it. Ask me if I still love you. Ask me if I miss you. Ask me if I think of you sometimes. Ask me if we can grab a cup of coffee somewhere. Just ask me…
But it was too late. She was already gone.
Kajsa Wiberg is a freelance writer, translator, and horse trainer. Her stories have appeared in The River Walk Journal, Long Story Short, Prose Toad, Chick Lit Review, Flash Shot, and Insolent Rudder, with forthcoming publications in Shred of Evidence, The Rose and Thorn, and Aoife’s Kiss. She is a script reader for Blue Cat Screenplay and a book reviewer for Eclectica. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA, where she’s at work on her second novel.