The Breaking and the Healing

Submitted into Contest #160 in response to: End your story with someone dancing in the rain.... view prompt

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Fiction Romance

"May I have this dance?" He holds out his hand to me.


I laugh and shake my head at him. "Are you insane? It's pouring down rain! We need to get back into the car and go home."


"Insane? No. Crazy for you? Definitely. I want to dance in the rain with my girl. C'mon."


I can't help but smile brightly at him, the butterflies swarming their way through my stomach. Only this man can make me want to do these things. I give in and take his hand. He leads me to an empty spot under the big oak tree. I'm pressed up against him. The clean, woodsy fragrance of him filling my senses. The fingers on my right hand interlock with his and my opposite hand lays flat against his chest. His other hand is on my lower back holding me steady. No music. No loud traffic. The only sounds are our rapid heartbeats and the pitter-patter of the falling rain.

As we sway, I tilt my head up to look at him. He's already looking down at me with the soft smile that I fell in love with three years ago. His golden brown eyes gazing into mine with nothing but love and adoration that I feel all the way down to my toes.


"I love you so much. You know that right?" I say to him.


He chuckles. "Well, I'd certainly hope so." He places a light kiss on the top of my rain-soaked head. "I love you too. I'll love you forever."


-


He always said that he'd love me forever. And he did. We just didn’t know that forever meant a few more months. He loved me for the rest of his life. I won't get the chance to love him for the rest of mine. It's been two years since the accident. I think back to the terrible night that I received the phone call. The trembling voice of his mother when she told me that he's gone. It still replays over and over in my mind. He's gone. The two words haunt me day and night. I remember falling to the floor, my entire chest caving in. I sobbed and sobbed. His mother never hung up the call. We grieved on opposite ends of the cellphone until we could find the strength and ability to speak again.

Eventually, she told me what happened. And just when I thought my chest couldn’t crack open any further, it did. It cracked wide open, shattering everything inside of me. I stayed on the kitchen floor for hours. I thought maybe he’d walk through the front door and run over to comfort me. He would fall to the floor and wrap me into his strong arms. But you can’t really find comfort in what doesn’t exist anymore.


He died instantly. It’s crazy, isn’t it? How we can be here one second, but not the next. I would picture him driving home, listening to his favorite song on the radio. He’d be smiling and singing along, his fingers drumming against the steering wheel to the beat of the music. And then boom. Just gone. Forever. A drunk driver. One mistake of a complete stranger took away my favorite person forever. I’ll never get to kiss him or laugh with him again. I’ll never look into his golden brown eyes or dance in the rain with him again. All because of one choice and one second. If one of the traffic lights he came across was red instead of green, then maybe he would have avoided the wreck. If he would have taken the long way home instead of the shortcut, maybe he would still be here. My therapist tells me that is not a healthy way to think about it. I like to tell her that I’m allowed to think whatever the hell I want to think. But deep down I know that she’s right. I’m just angry. Angry at the world. Angry at drunk drivers. Angry at alcohol. Angry at vehicles. I’m just angry about damn near everything.


It’s been two years. And I still think about him every day. I still feel the giant, gaping hole inside of me. Some days it feels like I’m not even a whole person. I’m not even half of one. I’m just a shell. I’m a ghost. I wasn’t aware the healing took so long. I’m thinking the healing is forever. A part of me suspects that I haven’t even reached the healing. Maybe this whole time I’ve just been breaking.


As I drive home from work, I look out of the passenger window and I see it. I feel the crack in my chest expand just a little more. It was our spot. The spot where we danced. I’ve always known it was there, but I avoid looking towards it on my usual route home. I force myself to look straight and keep driving, but everything within me tightens. My hands grip the wheel and without thinking, I pull over and stop the car. I take a few deep breaths and I get out. The late night air is cool and crisp. It’s not raining like it was when we were here. I wrap my sweater tighter around me and make my way to the spot. Our spot under the big oak tree. As I walk up, I imagine him. His golden brown eyes and his curly hair. I see him smiling at me. The soft smile that I’ll never forget. He holds his hand out to me and I take it. I picture being pressed up against him. I imagine him gazing down at me with that look full of love and adoration.


“I miss you so much. I’ll miss you forever.” I say.


I know that he’s not actually here. I picture my words drifting off into the air and reaching him. I would give anything just to hear his voice; to know that he’s here with me.

The air is filled with an eerie silence and I’ve never felt more alone. I turn to walk back to my car. And then it happens. It begins to rain. I stop right in my tracks and I expect to fully break down. But what comes out is a laugh. A genuine laugh and a big smile. My heart feels full and a heavy weight feels lifted off of me. I know that he’s here with me. I know that he’s always with me. I walk back to the spot and I dance. The rain falls all around me and I know if someone were to pass by, they would think that I am insane. Maybe I am. Or maybe this is just part of the process. Maybe this is what healing really feels like. 

August 25, 2022 11:20

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