It’s been a year since the last time I saw Ren. Time gets away from me sometimes. But the one thing that I always remember is my annual coffee date with Ren. Every year on the same day we meet up for coffee and a catch-up. This of course entails us reliving old memories and Ren listening to me drone on about whatever nonsense is happening in my life. Then we part ways again with a few tears and the hope that we will get together again next year. We’ve been doing this for 10 years now.
I am feeling a bit nervous but, I always do. I am always afraid that this year might be the year that he doesn’t show. I search my closet for something casual to wear. I grab a black t-shirt and some blue jeans and throw them on. I head over to the bathroom brush my teeth and then throw my hair up into a ponytail. I slip into some flip-flops, I grab my purse, and my keys, and head out to my car.
I feel as if I am going to jump out of my skin. I am so nervous and so excited at the same time. I hop in the car and start the hour-long drive. I put on my favorite playlist and blast the music. Of course, I sing badly all the way. This is just a way to distract my mind from over thinking during the drive. I stop at the local coffee shop and grab a coffee to go before I meet up with Ren. I pull up to the fenced-in area and park my car. I grab my coffee and a blanket from the back seat, I step out of my car and lock the doors. I walked up the walkway and open the gate and walked in. Ren and I usually meet at the top of the hill. I can barely see him in the distance. My heart skips a beat I am so excited. I quicken my pace and meet him at the top of the hill. I lay the blanket down on the grass and we sit. I sip my coffee and wait for him to speak. Words have escaped me at the moment. I stare at him his dark hair and brown eyes look sad. He looks faded. He gives me a weak smile.
“Julia,” he says, “I’m so glad you made it, I hope the drive was ok.”
“The drive was fine. I’m so glad you made it. I wasn’t sure. How are you feeling?” I had to ask him but, in truth, I didn’t want the answer. I don’t want this to be our last coffee together.
“I’m running out of time. 10 years is a long time to hold on. Not everyone gets this time. This second chance, even if it is only one day a year.”
I knew it. I could feel it. I could see it. He didn’t look right.
“Do you remember the last car ride we took?” he asked me.
“I don’t like to think about it,” I actually never think about it. Our last car ride together was terrible and he knew it. Why would he bring it up?
“Julia, the last car ride…”
“Stop” I whispered. “I don’t want to talk about it. It’s not important. Let’s just have this time without rehashing old shit”
“It was my fault, Julia, it was my fault and I almost killed you. You could have died and it would have been my fault and yet you still meet me here every year. Why? Why do you still bother?”
“Because I love you! I have always loved you. I will always love you. I never blamed you for the car accident. Not once!” I can’t believe he is even asking me this question. He should know how much I love him. I am lost without him. “Ren, what is wrong. You don’t look well. You look faded.” He looked at me his eyes said it all. I knew at this moment that this was the last time. I felt myself die inside. This is it.
“I am finished Julia, this is the last time I can see you. I won’t be able to come back again after this. I don’t want this to be the end. I don’t I’m not ready. I’m mad. I know I should be happy that I had this extra time. But it’s not enough. It will never be enough!” He wiped at his eyes as if there were tears there. Of course, there weren’t any, Ren can’t cry anymore.
“I’m not ready either Ren. I don’t want to let you go. I don’t want to go on without you.” I did wipe tears from my face but new ones replaced them. I threw my arms around him. I held him so tight. I felt his arms around me. We just held each other for a moment. After a few minutes I pulled away and looked at his face. I could see that he was leaving me. I placed a kiss gently on his lips as he drifted away from me.
“Ren” I whispered. He was gone. This was the last time he would come back for me. This was the last time I would ever see him again. We had ten years together after the car accident. I remember that night even though I try not to. We were fighting. A stupid fight. Ren took his eyes off the road to look at me while he was yelling. The next thing I know the car is wrapped around a tree and Ren is being loaded into the ambulance next to me. He was covered in blood. He died on the way to the hospital.
I went to his gravesite every day for a year. On the first anniversary of his death, he was there waiting for me. We sat and talked and I could touch him again. When I went the next day he was gone. My visits to the gravesite became less frequent. On the second anniversary of his death, he was there again. We both figured that he would be able to come back once a year. So for the last ten years, I would come up to his gravesite and spend just one more day with him.
Until today. I should feel lucky. I at least got to say goodbye. I got to hold him one more time. I got to love him a little longer. I stood up from the blanket. I shook it out and folded it. I placed it under my arm. I bent down and kissed the tombstone.
“Goodbye, my love,” I said. I walked the sad walk back to my car. There would be no music on the way home. I drove home in silence wiping tears the whole way. When I got back into my apartment I went straight to my room. I kicked off my shoes and climbed into bed. I didn’t bother changing. I let my mind wander to memories of Ren and me together. I would sleep now and dream of him. We would be together in my dreams.
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