Eyes heavy from the duty of holding back the tears, Valentine sighed. She both dreaded and expected the moment that had finally come; aiming for her freedom and ready to break down the imaginary shackles around her wrist, she found her voice.
“Look, we are just too different of people”, she said. Her gaze met his.
“So you view all this as a waste of time?” Frederic raised his shaking hands in a sign of who did not fully grasp what was currently happening. “You have waited all these years to tell me that we are not the same person?”
“I think you tried so hard to take a step back and find yourself that you actually lost yourself in the process. Look at you, Frederic. Are you the same person you were a year ago?” her mind could not process his words fast enough, already busy with her own crashing waves of emotion. Lip trembling, she thought of how the man standing in front of her now only had bits and pieces of who he had been before.
“I’m not, and it’s a good thing. I didn’t like myself.” He rubbed his eyes and sat down. “How did this just now become an issue?”
It didn’t – she had fought for a long time the very idea she was exposing right now, raw, in front of him. He wasn’t whole, anymore, he was bits and pieces.
“It has been for a while. I just couldn’t take it anymore.” she held her chin up, a couple of tears escaping down the curve of her cheekbone. “I don’t enjoy being around you anymore”, she said before her voice completely broke. Her insides were empty, but the words were still hard to say.
He stared at her for a long time, his green eyes exposing the hurt consuming him. Just seventy two hours ago everything was fine – their stroll through the city doing mischievous things went quite well, and he heard her exaggerated laugh more times than he could count.
“So you have been watching”, Frederic started after a minute, “this whole time, while I broke down my every bit and piece, you have been watching. Now that I’m done, that I’m raw, instead of watching me rebuild, you’re leaving.” His face was devoid of emotion, as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. “You are not even giving me a chance to rebuild, just like you never told me anything was wrong.” He was stating facts, not asking questions. “I never knew something was wrong, Valentine.”
“How can you be so cruel?” he banged his hand against the arm of the couch, partly infuriated that the cushioned surface did not hurt more. “All these years, and you don’t even give me a chance.”
Valentine had tears streaming down her face constantly now – eyes red and swollen, her head shook back and forth as if answering no to everything he absolutely knew to be true.
“I could have changed it. If not for me, for you.” A sad smile contoured his face, still far too shocked to let go of any of the promised tears. “I think you are scared, and selfish. You only wanted me whole, Valentine. You are not interested in helping me with my bits and pieces.”
“How is it selfish if I wasn’t happy?” she yelled, grabbing a hold of the table in front of her that separated the two of them. Across the room, there stood a stranger, and the reality of that hit her so hard it was like a physical punch.
“Because you only wanted me whole, and you don’t want to have to go through me sorting through the bits and pieces”. He shook his head again – the potential of what they could still accomplish together pulled his shoulders down with gravity. “You go on with your life, Valentine. Good luck next time finding someone who can read your mind.” Bitterly, he got up, mechanically telling one foot to go after the other, trying to numb the countless memories of the last few years with her.
She watched him leave, and dried up the tears. No use playing on broken strings.