I Always Hoped You’d Stay - Ryan Avery
You were standing beside the road just like yesterday or maybe a week ago. Hands at your side and not looking my way. With a sigh I pulled over slow. Your head just as quick, eyes glazing over me in that “gray or blue” I can’t tell which, kind of way. Opening the door you climbed in and I devoured every detail. Your hair tied up, fingernails unpainted, lips pulled tight in a grim line. It wasn’t the first time that I wondered what type of kiss it would take. To soften them, not seduce. I noticed a new wound in your jeans and wondered who you were escaping the night it appeared.
We drove in silence, as ever before. Unlike our first trip when I flooded you with questions and comments, I had slowly subsided into silent altruism. Though I’m not sure which you preferred. The truck bounced with every change in the road. You held on tightly, staring straight ahead. Nothing was different, this trip was the same as everyone before. But I felt it, the tension. Even in your silence I could tell that this would be the last time I stopped for you. We pulled into the gas station. The abandoned one across from the grain elevator in town. You opened the door, grabbed your bag (which I had always admired for its colourful needlework) and stepped down out of the truck. You hesitated then, and I braced myself. “This will be the last time”, you mumbled, looking down at your feet.
You probably knew me by then. That I would do anything in a heartbeat. That I was ready for the late nights and the tears and the failed attempts only to try and try again until everything was finally ok. You only had to climb back in. I wanted to scream, to shout, to ask you why and where and who and when, but most of all hold you tight, a shield from all the heartache. Giving peace and destroying pain in one single surge of emotion completely dedicated to you.
But instead I just nodded, my lips tightened, imitating yours. A strange thing happened then. I half expected you to look up at me and explain it all. Indecision, maybe, flashed through your mind. However fate prevailed and you walked off. Turning the corner of the building without another word. I knew that I would never see you again. And it was awhile before I would be ok with that.