I stare at him until Joe grabs my crutches from him and says “thanks.” He hands them to me and I start walking away. Joe walks behind me, blocking Jack’s view of me. I try to not show the emotions on my face but I know Joe has seen the look. “Val!” I hear my name called. I look behind me for a second and I see Jack standing there. “Please, can I just explain? Please?” I ignore him and keep hobbling my way along. Joe comes up next to me and I see he has a perplexed look on his face. I hear Jack jog up behind us and say “Val, please!” I stop in my tracks.
“What do you want?!” I yell at him. He looks down. He can’t even say anything now. “I just wanted to say how sorry I am.” He finally says . “Sorry for what? Making me feel special? Lying to me? For kissing another girl?” I scream at him. He looks up at my eyes then. “I’m not sorry for making you feel special. You were special… are special. That girl I kissed is my ex. I broke up with her for you!” he yells back at me.
I feel tears falling on my face. “I don’t want to hear it.” I whisper so only he can hear me. I can see his eyes glistening with tears as well. “Maybe, one day, I can finally forgive you, but today isn’t that day.” That must have broken his heart because I hear him choke back a sob. I turn around and meet back up with Joe He asks if I’m ok and all I can manage is a head nod. He runs my back and we head back to the car.
I get in the passenger seat and Joe gets in the driver side. I stare out the window and before I know it, I’m at my house. “I thought we had the entire day?” I say. He says “You’re not in any condition to stay out.” I get out of the car and Joe meets me on my side. We walk inside together and I go to my room and lay down. I close my eyes and soon I feel a weight on the other side of the bed. I open my eyes and see Joe leaning on his arm. “Hi.” He says. I smile. He puts his arms around me and I close my eyes again.
I feel him kiss my temple and he says “go to sleep.” I comply and soon I’m dreaming about nothing. I guess he had left after I fell asleep because when I wake up, he’s not in the bed. I get up and grab my crutches. I go to the living room and I see him sitting on the couch. I join him and he gives me a sad smile. What’s going on? I wonder to myself. Joe gets up and I stand as well. He walks toward the door and I follow. “Where are you going?” I ask him. “I’m just going to go out for a little while. I’ll be back.” He tells me. He kisses me and leaves.
I go back to the couch and turn on the tv. What’s on his mind? I wonder again. I guess I fell asleep again because Joe is on the couch and I have a blanket on top of me. I open my sleepy eyes and smile up at him. He hands me a piece of paper and leans over and kisses me deeply. I kiss him back. Our lips break apart but not far. “I only wish that someday, you could love me as much as you do him.” He kisses me again and with that, he gets up and leaves. I set the paper aside and watch him walk out the door. IS he breaking up with me? What?
Why do all guys break up with me? What did I do? I start crying and the shaking starts. I hobble to my room and lay in my bed. My pillow isn’t damp, but wet from my tears. I eventually man up and decide that no one is worth it anymore. Grabbing my crutches, I look into the guest room. All of his things have been cleared out. The only thing left is a guitar pick. I take it and cradle it in my hands. I run my thumb on the edges and feel how worn and used it is.
I leave the room before I cry again. I go back to the couch and sit down. I grab the paper he gave me and look at it. It’s addressed to me and I slowly open it.
I have loved you since we were kids. We’ve always been friends and I’ll always be there for you. I see the way he torments you. I know he doesn’t do it purposefully but just the mention of his name makes you want to cry. I see that and no one else does. I will always love you but I can’t BE WITH you. I’ll BE THERE for you. You deserve someone better than anyone on this earth. If I could be the kind of guy you need, I’d still be here. I’ve decided I’m going to join the army. I hope we can keep in contact. This probably won’t happen, but I can still hope. I wish that one day, you could love me the same way you love him.
I tear up at his letter. He never expressed any desire to join the army. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I do still love Jack. But how can I possibly forgive him for what he’s done. Why does this shit always happen to me?!