“I love you,” he says quietly as I hang up. I say what, but I’m already talking to dead air. I sit there in shock. Was I supposed to hear that? Did I even hear that? What if he said something else and I’m freaking out over nothing? I was so confused; my world felt like it was spinning out of control.
The rushing sound in my ears got louder. I swayed on my feet as I walked to the kitchen and threw out my arms to steady myself. I reached out to the countertop and locked my elbows so I wouldn’t hit my head on the counter if I passed out. My breath sounded ragged and alien in my mouth. I felt distant from my body, and I blinked over and over to try to get rid of the clouds in my head. I turned around slowly until I felt the hard granite countertop behind me.
I slid down carefully until I touched the cool tile under my hands. I tucked my legs to my chest and wrapped my arms around myself. I rested my head on my knees and closed my eyes. It felt like someone had thrown me to the ground and knocked the wind out of my lungs. I couldn’t catch my breath for the world.
“I love you,” I say quietly after I think she’s hung up. But now is when I hear the sound the phone call ending. I breathed a sigh of relief, how glad I was that she didn’t know my true feelings. I was happy being her friend, but I wanted so much more. Not knowing how she’d react made me fearful of telling her the truth. I sat down on the floor, mind full of possible ways she’d react.
“No, you aren’t mature enough, serious enough, tall enough.” I closed my eyes, trying to block out the fears. But how great would that be? To have her, hold her, for her to be mine. No more jealousy attacks, no more panic about whether some guy would swoop in and take her away. I loved her smile, her laugh, and being the reason for both, and I loved how smart she was, and bright, and talking to her in the evening.
“But no, ” I told myself, “you can’t. Don’t ruin what you have. She’s your best friend.” I stood up and got some water. I stared at the glass for a moment when it hit me. The dial didn’t sound until just after I said those powerful words. I started breathing faster, my heart pounding. “She heard it,” I thought to myself as sweat started to trickle down the back of my neck, “She heard it and won’t talk to me again.” I paused, “But… I wonder if she loves me too?”
“No,” I said to myself, “She likes other guys. Why else would she talk about them so much?” I sat down, staring at the empty glass thinking over and over, “Did she hear me or not?”
That single question stayed, filling my mind until early morning, keeping me from sleep.
Your Sweet Assassin