a short story.

“You shouldn’t have come.”

She stood in the doorway cowering behind the grand bouquet she held, her gesture of love serving more as a shield than a gift.

A shield from my hurt and disdain? Or perhaps she was trying to hide from her own fear. She probably thought herself courageous for being here. But to me, it was the move of a coward.

“I wanted to see you,” she said.

“Oh?”

“Yes. I still love you. I still care.”

I looked away and gazed out the window.

“Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear you say that?”

“I know it’s been a long time . . . that I took a long time. But now—”

“But now time has run out.” I pulled my gaze from the window and focused my eyes on hers.

“Keep your flowers. And keep away from me. Your love and caring are too little, too late.”

“Jamie—”

“Please leave, Allison.”

Her lips parted to continue her protest, but I knew better. She was never one to fight for anyone, no matter how deep her love. And despite all this time, I knew that hadn’t changed. I turned back to the window. There was nothing left to say.

I heard her deep sigh of concession, and after a few moments of silence, the sound of her footsteps as they echoed down the hall. She’d walked away.

Like she’d always done. Like she always would, even now.

I wanted to see you.

I replayed the words over and over, caressing them tenderly and fondling their sound. It seemed like an eternity that I’d longed to hear that magical declaration, the fiery spell that would reignite our connection.

But magic fades, and fires weaken.

And I shouldn’t have to be dying to be worth seeing.