Maybe I should have asked her not to leave. Maybe I should have held her face between my hands, looked right into the sweet darkness of her eyes and all the beautiful things they held and said please please please you are wrong about me i can do this. But of course I didn’t, and maybe she was right. If she was so wrong, I wouldn’t have let her go.
Maybe I should have run down the stairs so fast that when I finally got through the eight floors, the elevator would have just arrived. Perfect timing. I would have kissed her, and she would have kissed me back, and I would tell her to give me a chance to prove her wrong. Or maybe I would arrive at the lodge right as she left the building, and I would never see her again. Or maybe she wouldn’t kiss me back at all, or not give me the chance to prove myself as the man I should have been.
Maybe she would have given me a chance. Maybe if she did we would find the happiness it was so hard to believe in. Or maybe I would have proved all her predictions to be true, and one way or another made her stop loving me. I would have promised that my father’s drinking habit and beating the shit out of his wife habit, my mother leaving without an address and phone number behind and my brother not talking to me for years didn’t necessarily mean I had abandonment issues. I would swear with all my heart that I wasn’t afraid to love or be loved. But then one night we would be watching that movie she loved so much, drinking wine and eating popcorn, and I would look at her and it would kill me. As she laughed at a scene she had watched so many times she knew by heart and put a handful of popcorn in her mouth, I would realize just how much I loved her. Her beautiful dark eyes, the simple truths I found within them, her long and wavy hair in a messy bun on top of her head, the chipped green nail polish she always had on, her pink lips and rosy cheeks, all of it so fatally beautiful. My heart would weight in my chest, and I would want to cry and scream and yell because I was so scared of how much I loved her. I would be so scared that one day she would wake up and realize how she was infinitely too phenomenal to be with someone like me. I would pick a fight over something stupid and she would hate me because she was right all along and she was never the kind of person who needed to be right.
Or maybe not. Maybe I would have been tempted to find her a reason to end it already, but I would have stopped myself. I would have closed repeated in my head that I owed it to her to try my very best. I owed her to be the man she deserved. And when she told me she loved me, I would have done my very best to not let myself be convinced that she was lying, because her eyes always told the truth.
Maybe. Or maybe not. There isn’t really a way to know. Because when she told me I didn’t know how to be loved, I looked down at my feet and said nothing at all. I let her close the door behind her and go down the elevator and out of the building to a life, as I believed she deserved, without me.
There was no asking her to stay, running down the stairs, kissing her and being kissed back, watching marathons of the same movies every weekend, loving her and being loved back. There was also no unrequited kisses, heartbreaking rejections, uncalled for fights or unkept promises. There was just me, alone in my apartment, and enough what ifs to haunt every single second of the life of a very foolish man.