Eleven Miles

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Confession #12

Shell Out

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Ironically, the last couple of hours have awakened me. The harsh reality is that we don’t have a thing binding us together. Yet we still sit side by side, expecting something to happen—something good to come from all of this. Sure, we could sit on opposite sides of the road or camp about a mile-and-a-half away from each other. But we don’t. We sit side by side, staring at the fields, hoping for anything to bring us out of this mess. For what, I don’t know.

For a moment, I wonder if we’ll ever speak a word. We haven’t said anything since taking our respective positions along the road’s shoulder. I know our thoughts have been running rampant: thoughts about why our thumbs don’t seem to be working; thoughts about why the few cars that drive by pretend they don’t see us, or care; thoughts about why we don’t just walk the eleven miles back to town and spare ourselves this misery. But our mouths have remained quiet since the last time we saw our private way home.

I think Richard has been silently destroying himself over this. And I’d argue that he has every right to torture himself. But it concerns me that after two hours he can’t turn the accusation around on me; not even one word about it being my fault. Makes me wonder what he’s been thinking about this whole time.

I really hoped our relationship could’ve gotten better in time, but I doubt it ever had the right tracks. The fact remains that we came together at a vulnerable period in our lives. He had a girl in his life. I wasn’t over Harry. I still cried nearly every night since watching that golden ring fall out of his pocket. No man had what it took to bring me out of that.

In the end, I just wasn’t ready.

There have been a few moments when it looked like Richard wanted to say something—his eyes drifted, and he parted his mouth a quarter-inch as a soft breath escaped. But he stopped and closed his lips each time. He followed every attempt to speak with a quick shift to the side and a frustrated brushing over his hair. In the past, these actions dictated something very personal on his mind, something he knew he needed to say but, for whatever reason, didn’t know how. It was in these moments when I needed to help him by asking the questions necessary to get him talking. But this time I’m not sure what to ask. This time I feel like I’ve done enough.

It’s funny the things that happen when we’re far away from home: things that we could’ve avoided had we just started walking to town rather than plopping down where we are; things that impress the point that we have nothing left to say to each other or emotions to force between us; things that make obvious the fact that we have nothing else to share or any desire to find something new to discover; things that smack us hard in the head to remind us that our relationship never fully existed, but only looked real in my mind. And, in the end, it’s funny how much we realize that in all things considered, emotions are deceptive and we really aren’t that bright after all.

Maybe if I had been on stronger ground, I wouldn’t have brought this upon us. If I had let him go after that first afternoon on the lake, then we never would’ve had to deal with this. And if I had stuck to my original plan and allowed time to heal my ridiculous wounds, then maybe I wouldn’t have needed Richard in my life, period.

If I had let go from the start, I’d probably be sitting on my couch right now with a book in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other.