Perhaps it was watching Tony and Erica act out their little charade. Presumably, when they disappeared into the ditch, they went off into the dark to do the sort of fiery things passionate couples do there. Mary and I had no choice but to wait for them to finish so that Tony could drive us back into town. So, I sat down on the grass and looked at the stars and thought about the lies we all tell, the things that allow us to function, the scenarios we sit and plot and cook up.
Denying that the incident between Brianne and I ever happened was one of mine. If I ever talked about my college romances with friends, I would tell them about the triangle with myself, Adam, and Brianne much in the way I’ve written about it on this journal. I held back a part that was important to me, lied so that I might keep a piece of it myself.
Sitting there, I could feel my wallet in my back pocket. The way I was positioned, it was pressing against my lower back, almost like it was trying to tell me something. It was reminding me that it held a secret, too: the letter. I pulled it out and stared at it. I didn’t unfold it. I wasn’t going to look at it. I would tear it up and scatter it to the wind, maybe set it on fire and add it to the pile of ashes. It was another lie, its continued existence evidence of another narrative fib here.
At the end of my entry about my fight with Adam, I said, “That was when I decided to leave.”
That’s not really true. If I had been up front with you, that’s when I decided to make my final play.
The parallels between this and my other sin of omission will be obvious.
Once Adam was gone and I gathered myself, I made my way over to their house. Just like in college, I was not sure what I was going to do, but given the long bus ride to their place, I had much more time to think about that fact--and when it came down to it, I did know. I was going to get to her. I was going to get to Brianne, and I was going to pick her up if need be and carry her out the door to wherever we needed to go to be together once and for all.
When I arrived, I stayed across the street, walking close to the facing yards, hiding in the shadows behind trees. The sun was setting, it was a good time of day for skulking. My timing couldn’t have been better. I saw Adam stamp out of the house in a rage, get in his land rover, slam the door as hard as he could, and drive away, tires screeching as he turned the corner.
Steeling my courage, I crossed the street to their house. I rang the bell, but I didn’t hear it ring so to be safe I also knocked. Brianne came to the door almost immediately. She had been crying. Her eyes were red, her mascara smudged. My heart immediately went out to her. I wanted to hold her and kiss her and tell her everything was okay. Instead, I merely said, “Hi,” and a little weakly at that.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
“But I’m glad it did.”
“You’re glad to have shaken everything loose like this?”
She didn’t say anything.
“We can use this, Brianne. This is our shot.”
“Why? Because I love you!”
“Isn’t that enough?”
“I don’t know, Lance. If love were everything, then maybe.”
Brianne was crumbling. It wasn’t her fault. She needed my support. I was here now, and she would hear what she needed to know.
“It’ll all be okay,” I told her.
“Yes. Better than okay.”
She looked at me as if she were waiting for more. There weren’t butterflies in my stomach, but bats, flying blind and screaming.
“Leave with me,” I said. “Leave with me now. We’ll go somewhere, we’ll be together, we’ll sort it out.”
“I can’t. Adam’s coming back.”
“So what? You’re leaving him!”
“You are leaving him.”
She looked away. Less than nothing.
“Brianne. Say you love me.”
Time passed without anyone marking it. It could have been an hour, it could have been days, it could have been ten seconds. It didn’t matter.
Brianne didn’t look at me, she didn’t speak.
“You have my heart, Brianne. If you don’t want it, then do what you will with it. Get rid of it, whatever. I don’t want it back.”
I walked back to the bus stop. Go home, Substitute, and let the real lovers do their job.
And that was when I decided to leave.
Back out there in the empty lot, by the dead fire pit and Tony’s Saturn, I looked at the letter of love I had written. My promise to Brianne, my promise to myself. I opened it then, deciding I should read it one last time before it was gone forever. The language was flowery but clear. I loved her, never stopped loving her, and never would.
Was this true? I had booked this tour to get away from Brianne, to put miles between us, to let her go and to forget her. I was going to let go of the lies I told myself.
But only the lies. The truth I had to keep. The truth is the stuff I can’t change.
I folded the letter back up, put it back in its slot in my wallet, and returned my wallet to my pocket.
I was wrong. I hadn’t told Brianne everything she needed to hear. One of these days, I was going to have to sit her down and explain to her about happy endings....
# # #
This concludes "Romeo May be Bleeding, But Mercutio is Dead". Thanks for reading. If you liked what you saw here, please check out the Lance Scott novel, The Everlasting, published by Oni Press. For author enquiries, contact golightly at confessions123 dot com.
(c)2006 Jamie S. Rich