When We Were Young
She took an extra long drag on her cigarette. I watched her from the corner of my eye. She didn’t even bother to look my way.
“You know, such a pretty woman shouldn’t taint herself with such an ugly habit,” I said, hoping it could rekindle some emotion in her.
“Whatever.” She snorted in reply, smoke coming out of her mouth.
“That line worked,” I sighed, “back in high school.”
“Well, Marina, you were my best friend back in high school.”
Still, she refused to look my way. Staring at her, all I could do was sigh again. An unbearable weight was starting to fall on me. It wasn’t new, but it didn’t make it any less pleasant. Her eyes were looking into nothing, but kept an odd focus. I glanced to where her eyes seemed to linger. Two teenaged girls were sitting on a pair of swings not too far away. Their swing was lazy and relaxed, but their mouths were animated and faces vibrant with life. The weight got heavier, this time pushing on my chest.
Was she remembering what we did when we were that age? Before the real world came bursting in on our fun? When I look back on it, nothing really happened. There was no big argument, no boys came between us, no betrayal…just growing up. She went her way, I went mine…and sometimes, I don’t even know her anymore.
“Alexis…” I started, my eyes looking her way.
Then, she sighed, “This is a waste of time.”
The weight just dropped. I was crushed. I put my head in my hand. I wasn’t sad for me. I was sad for her. For what she was, and what she might be. Gone was the girl with rainbow highlights and bubbly giggle. And I didn’t even get to see her go. There was just a working woman with stress oozing from every pore. A hand quickly, but gently patted my leg, and unfathomable sorrow washed over me. It was the end of us.
She stood and dropped her cigarette. Tears fought there way down my cheeks, as I tried to will her to turn and look, or to just say a word. With one quick movement, she stomped out her cigarette and walked away. No hesitation. Completely silent. I felt extreme sadness for her. I may miss her, but I was happy. My life isn’t bad. So maybe, I was sad for no real reason at all.