The stars were a form of new world, home.
Theo and I loved to simply look up and stare. Stare, dream, wish... hope.
The sky was a dark blue-blue color with highlights of black. Crickets could be heard nearby and I could smell the grass that surrounded us, as we sat side-by-side, without saying a word. We didn’t need to. All was said in the silence, and we knew it. Besides, the sight of the sky at night, with all its stars and having Theo next to me, was breath-taking. It was beautiful, safe. It was comforting.
I turned to him, and in the darkness, I could see his silhouette: his hair, nose, jaw, the bump of his Adam’s apple.
He was sitting with his hands to his side, left leg bent and right leg stretched out. He turned and locked eyes with me. His eyes were reflecting the stars, as if they absorbed all the light from above.
He has this expression, this look, that made me understand that he knew I was going to say something, that I dared to break this silence.
And I did.
‘’Theo, there’s something I need to say.’' My voice was quiet, secretive, almost.
He looked forward, so that I saw him from the profile. He sighed, and I held my breath. I needed to tell him, to let him know.
No matter what, I was going to leave knowing that I told him. Even though it may break him.
I touched his shoulder and he nodded, letting me know that I can start when I’m ready.
His silence was killing me.
‘’I’m moving; leaving Chicago-’’ I murmured.
He turned; eyebrows raised. ‘’Oh. Wow. That’s big news.’’
I leaned in closer to him, feeling him tense as I placed my head on his shoulder.
‘’I’m sorry; I should have told you sooner, I wanted to, but I just – couldn't. You know I wouldn’t want to purposefully hurt you, Theo.’’
I could see him close his eyes. He reached out with his left hand and clasped my right hand. His thumb was rubbing the top of my hand.
This took my breath away -again.
He was so calm, so soothing.
Realizing this made me not want to leave him, even more.
''So?'' I questioned, giving him an expectant look. ''What do you think?''
He dropped his head. ''Honestly, I will miss you, Mia. You know how I feel about you, but you shouldn't mind what I think. It's your future, not mine. I support your choice.''
He shook his head, ''No, it's true. I swear.''
I smiled, but felt guilty about it; should I really be smiling about this, during a situation like this?
I moved away from him and pulled my knees to my chest. I sighed and thought back to when I first met him - I smiled at the thought. I felt him stir, next to me, and in the dim light from the Moon, I could see he was crying. Few tears slowly pouring down his cheeks. His head was still dropped, and he, too, had his knees up to his chest, arms folded over them.
I thought about saying something, consoling him, but I then thought to let him have his privacy; to let him be sad and not worry about me judging him, or thinking that he is not, actually, okay with me leaving.
I looked back up at the night sky, relaxing my shoulders, sighing as the steady breeze of the night passed us, as it whistled through my hair.
''Well, I guess I should go now...'' I murmured, turning to him, after we sat in silence for a lengthy amount of time.
Theo solemnly nodded, ''Yeah, I guess so.''
''So- this is... goodbye?'' I chocked.
He looked at me, with sad eyes. ''I suppose.''
I could tell he struggled with this, so I sat closer to him, kissed him on the cheek and whispered, ''I love you, Theo. Thank you for everything.''
He locked his eyes with mine, holding a steady gaze, ''I love you too, Mia. I will really, really miss you.''
''Me too.'' I now reached my arms behind his neck and hugged him, tightly. Pulling him close to me, feeling his warmth, feeling him, being there for me. Him being there with me.
''Goodbye.'' He wrapped his arms around me, too, and for a while, we sat there holding each other.
''Goodbye, Theo.'' I whispered in his hair, before standing up, and holding his hand.
I stood there, looking down at him, and he sat there, looking up at me.
He let go of my hand a bit and I started to walk backwards.
His hand dropped back down to his side, while I turned and started walking -slowly- away, leaving him there; sitting alone, with the stars.
While I was walking away, shoulders slugged down, I realized that this was, yes, the temporary end of my stay in Chicago, my time with Theo, but it was the beginning of a new journey, by myself, with my family.
We will meet new people. Nice people, weird people.
But no one like Theo.
I folded my arms in front of my chest, trying to make myself feel okay, but it didn't work, of course it didn't.
I love Theo. I care about him.
He was always there for me, near me. He cared for me.
And now... I'm just leaving him.
I turned, feeling reluctant about my choice.
Should I be doing this?
I watched him, sadly, as he sat there, all alone.
I looked up at the stars.
What should I do?
He probably heard me, as he turned, and murmured. ''Mia?''
''I'm sorry, I really am. I love you...'' I murmured, my voice cracking as I started to cry again.
He stood up and walked towards me. He was long and thin and nearly eighteen.
He came all the way up in front of me right before I fell forward, hands and head on his chest as he stood there, supporting me. He wrapped his arms around my back.
''It's okay, you can always message or call me. It's not the end of the world, Mia. I'm always going to be here. Go live your life, be happy, be free, with your family, your loved ones.''
I nodded to his soothing words, forcing myself to remember them, to replay them in my head as I sobbed.
Deep down I knew I'd have to say 'goodbye' again, once I've calmed down.