she sat in a chair just a few feet from his.
she fingered the wine glass in front of her.
watched as he joked with his friends across the table.
listened to their conversations. smiled.
the bar was crowded. joyous in it's teeming capacity.
everyone knew everyone else.
the atmosphere was one of celebration and beginning. the start of something.
she felt so full with it all.
she eyed the packet of cigarettes in front of him.
he hadn't smoked when they'd known each other.
he would turn to ask her a question, and she couldn't find the man she'd once cared for in his eyes.
she felt as though she was sitting next to a stranger. couldn't equate this person with the man she'd gone on all those dates with, the man she'd had countless daydreams about.
she knew what he was doing. well, she thought she did.
it was protection, this closing off. she understood.
he was perfectly polite. perfectly kind. it had been nice of him to include her. but he was so far away. the three feet between them belied a far greater distance.
had she hurt him? was that was this was?
she was having two experiences at once. she was enjoying her wine, enjoying meeting new people, laughing even. and yet, the person she had come for was changed in a way that she couldn't quite touch.
there was no sense of any history. any past.
and because the man sitting next to her was not the man she had loved she wondered if that man had ever existed. perhaps not.
and just like that, with that one thought, all the memories of the two of them together became memories of her alone. without. how quickly he dissolved from the images her mind paged through on slow, yawning afternoons.
it was then. and only then that she first felt her heart break. and oh how she hated that phrase. heart. break. but there it was.
never had she felt so alone. in the midst of the crowded bar. among friends and new faces she was unspeakably, unutterably alone.
she had loved him. just a little. or started to at least. she hadn't meant to hurt him. certainly not that. but mistakes are made.
so she finished her second glass of wine. kissed him on the cheek. and walked out. alone.