The girl’s hands tightened as the question she pondered over was said. However, once the question left her mouth, a thickened silence had fallen over both her and the boy who stood in front of her. She knew this was going to happen. The girl had been in this situation many times before, and all of them resulted in the same outcome, rejection. Tears welled up in her eyes as she already knew what the answer to her question was. Taking a step back, she gave the boy a half-hearted laugh before apologizing and turning to walk away. The tears that were once in the girl’s eyes began to trickle down her face, but she still kept on smiling. She was used to this, so why was she crying? Why was she in pain over a situation that has happened over a million times?
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
This word repeatedly rang in her head as her tears showed no signs of stopping. If only she didn’t ask him, if only she weren’t so hopeful of a change. She thought it was going to be different. Even though she had been rejected so many times, there was a tiny sliver of hope she held onto. That sliver is what kept her together, and now, she was broken—broken into small pieces that would be impossible to put back together. This time had been her breaking point. For years she buried the emotions she felt from every rejection, and for years it built up. It had built up so much to the point where it couldn’t be contained anymore, and this time was too much.
It was only halfway through the school day, but the girl didn’t care. She walked out the front doors of the building with her backpack in her hands. No one attempted to stop her. It was like they knew what had happened. She dug her nails into her palms as she heard the doors close behind her. Going home was the only option for her, even if it wasn’t the most ideal. She knew her mother would lecture her. Ever since her father left, her mother never hesitated to remind her how love is a trap created by the Heartbreaker.
“Don’t you ever fall in love, you hear me? Nothing good ever comes out of it, and you will always end up heartbroken,” the girl’s mother said.
“But come on, momma. There’s this cute boy in my class, and I think he likes me back. Maybe this time it will be different,” she said.
The sound of her mother’s hand colliding against the girl’s cheek echoed throughout the kitchen.
“What did I say? Listen to me now and listen well, alright?”
The girl nodded her head, eyes widened.
“Love is the Heartbreaker’s work. All she wants is for those to suffer as she did after getting heartbroken. After enough time, she’ll swallow you up and drag you down with her to hell. Do you understand?”
The girl nodded again, this time with tears in her eyes.
“Good. Now wash those dishes while you’re at it. Momma needs a cigarette.”
The girl rubbed her arms as goosebumps crawled up onto her skin from the drop in temperature. She stopped in her tracks as she realized this. It was the middle of April, meaning spring had just started. The weather has been in the mid-eighties for weeks, but it felt like it was about fifty degrees to her. It only continued to get colder as the girl stood still, wondering where this cold front came from. At this point, she then realized that the roads were oddly barren. The streets around her school were ordinarily active throughout the day and slowed down at night, but there was no one in sight. No cars. No joggers. Nothing. The girl felt her breathing quicken. It was as if the air had just become thicker, making it harder for her to breathe. A thick smoke-like fog soon covered the streets that obscured the girl’s vision. All of these changes were happening so fast the girl didn’t know what to do. She tried to loosen herself up by running, but she barely had the strength to do so. She then tried calling out for someone, but no one answered. She was alone.
The girl collapsed into a heap on the sidewalk as she kept on struggling to regain her breath. Her lack of oxygen made her heart feel like it was going to burst out of her chest.
“It hurts, doesn’t it?”
A soothing voice emanated from the fog around her.
“The feeling of your heart wanting to burst out of your chest from feeling nothing but sorrow. I felt that one. You want it to end, don’t you?”
The question was so simple yet challenging to answer. She wanted to say yes, but something held her back from saying it. A hand reached out from the fog in front of the girl.
“I don’t need a verbal answer. If you agree, then take my hand. I can make the pain go away.”
The girl hesitated but slowly brought up her hand. If this meant she would be able to breathe again, then it will be worth it. She would never have to feel another heartbreak again. Streams of salt dripped from her swollen eyes.
However, the girl was stopped in her tracks as she felt a different hand fall upon her shoulder. This disrupted the scene around, and in a quick blink of her eyes, everything was gone. She could feel the heat of the sun penetrating her back, followed by newly developed droplets of sweat on her forehead from the surge in temperature.
“Are you okay?”
In an attempt to cover her crying, the girl quickly wiped away the remains of the tears that stained her cheeks. Once recovered, she turned to meet the person that stopped her, and what she saw made her heart stop. What stood before was the boy she had confessed to. The boy stared at her with sympathetic eyes as he kneeled over to try to catch her breath.
“Why is he trying to catch his breath? Did he run all this way?” she thought to herself.
More questions filled her mind as the girl stood up straight and stared into his eyes. She couldn’t figure out what emotion he was emitting, which caused her body to tense up. The boy then spoke up, and what he said filled her heart was something she couldn’t explain.
“I’m sorry I didn’t respond right away. Your question caught me off guard,” the boy paused to rub the back of his neck as a burning heat began to creep up to his cheeks, “but to answer your question, yes, I would love to go on a date.”
Confidence was evident on the boy’s face as his lips formed into a small smile. The girl was in shock. She didn’t expect to get an answer this quickly or at all. Small tears brimmed the edges of her eyes once again, but not because she was sad. She couldn’t describe what she was feeling, for she had never felt it before, but she knew it wasn’t sadness. For the longest time, the girl hadn’t believed in love. Her mother’s story of the Heartbreaker always scared her, and to think the boy could have just saved her by coming to find her proved that maybe, just maybe, love was out there.