March 15, 2017

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Waiting

Imagine my surprise when he didn’t show up. We had spent months planning this and had promised that we would go, rain or shine. He had promised me, just the night before, that he would be there like he said he would. It didn’t matter what his parents had to say, or how much mine objected. It didn’t matter that neither of us had a job or enough funds to pay the rent. It didn’t matter that things would inevitably be hard, because when had they ever been easy? We didn’t expect the good things to simply fall into our laps. We knew we had to work, and work hard, in order to get the things we wanted from life, and we had prepared ourselves to do exactly that.

Starting with today, the day he had promised me we would get married.

I had packed my bags a week ago, too excited to care about secrecy. My family would know soon enough anyhow. Even still, the night before, I packed and unpacked and repacked my bags all evening, because I couldn’t sleep, the excitement buzzed so strongly through my veins. I had checked my list a million times, just to make sure that I had everything I thought I would need, which amounted to clothing and nothing more, as room caused an issue. But I didn’t care that I wouldn’t have blankets or pillows or any of the little comforts. I had what I needed: clothing on my back and him. More than enough to keep me warm on the coldest of nights.

Yet as I sat on the curb a few blocks away from my house, near the train tracks, waiting for him, the rain falling around me, I felt colder than I had ever felt before. He was nowhere in sight. I had waited for hours. The train we had planned to take had already come and gone, but something kept me there. A hope burning alive in my heart. He wouldn’t just leave me hanging. Not him. He had ambitions, just like me, and a heart of purest gold. His father probably kept him back, attempting yet again to convince him to stay. Or perhaps it was his mother, crying at his feet, or his younger siblings, begging him not to go. No matter what it was, he would never abandon me like this.

And so I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I waited for hours. The sun set. The sky darkened. The clouds grew thicker, the rain heavier. And still no sight of him. My heart felt heavy, an unfamiliar sense of longing and abandonment hanging, tugging on its strings.

Slowly, reluctantly, I stood from where I had perched, sitting on the edge of my case. I looked to my left, to my right, behind me, all around me, my head filled with the hope that maybe he had merely forgotten what day it was or had found it necessary to sneak out after his family had gone to bed. My heart didn’t dare to hope again; he had already damaged it too much for that. Still, I saw nothing. Nothing to my left. Nothing to my right. Nothing behind me or around me. He simply hadn’t arrived.

As it finally dawned on me what had actually happened, a weight suddenly dropped onto me, hovering over my entire body, my feet dragging, my head hanging, my breathing slow and almost indeterminate. He had abandoned me. He wasn’t stopped by his father or his mother or his siblings, he had simply abandoned me. Left me alone. Without warning.

And in that moment, I hated him. I hated him with a passion burning bright within my chest, where once a different sort of passion had burned. He had left me all alone, waiting, waiting for him to arrive, to join me, so that we could start our life together, the life we had always dreamed about, the life we had planned carefully to the T. Somewhere along the line, he had come across doubts. His father’s arguments had won him over, his mother’s cries convinced him. I had thought him stronger than that, strong enough to withstand his parents’ protests, strong enough to chase what he wanted rather than give in to his parent’s wishes.

I was wrong. Never had I wanted to be right more than I had then.

***

Prompt: See picture.

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