“There are no second chances in life, except to feel remorse.”
(“The Shadow of the Wind”, Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
Never a good idea, of course. Going back. But she was the world’s worst at letting go, and if there was the slightest chance that she could salvage her dreams, then she didn’t hesitate to take it. It was as if, by diving head on into that dark pool of emotional turmoil, she would know for sure if there was any hope, or if indeed it was just a dark black pool that, in all likelihood, would pull her down and down until she ran out of air and had no choice but to rise to the surface towards the light. But still, she had to know for sure.
So, when he finally, after 3 months, responded to a message, her heart skipped and hope shone its faintest light. She had got so used to hearing nothing from him, that when her phone pinged in the darkness of her car, she consciously told herself it would not be him, to protect her still fragile heart from the disappointment that had gone before. But it was him. He said, simply, “Same here, for me, never stopped caring”.
He was abroad now, a flight away, but a flight which he would never take back to her, and would always have a reason why she should not fly to him. But she hung on to his messages, empty promises of a future together. He still had a hold over her heart, so she tucked these promises away like a warm glow inside, rarely shared with anyone – because she was too afraid they would not come true, and because, in her heart of hearts, she knew they never would. But they were hope, and hope was all she had.
Maybe he believed it himself. Maybe he was just stringing her along. She wanted to believe him … but she would never know if, to him, she became a daily ego-flattering text message. Though anyone looking in would say she was the fool, knowing him as she did, in the end, she believed he was a troubled soul who really didn’t know what he wanted. And she needed him to want her. He could not or would not ever commit to that, and true love is not forcing someone to feel something they do not. He did not want her … enough.
So, in the end, she had no choice but to swim for the surface, gulp in the life-giving air that was her future without him, and so begin the long journey of letting him go … again. But at least this time, she knew.