The story so far:
"Are you sure?"
I have to pretend to be polite and ask him. I know he can't stand giving up his favorite Jeff Buckley album.
Truth be told, I don't exactly love it, but I know that when I listen to it I'll think of him, and so I have to have it. He tells me “it’s cool”, but I know all too well he’s cursing me inside that head of his. Oh well, I’m getting the damn thing, and he will have to let it go or say what he really wants to say. He hands it to me. That’s what I thought. Perhaps it is strange that I already know I will want to think of him. Stranger yet that I know for a fact I'll pop that c.d. in my car the moment I drive away from here. Indulge in the incredible sadness and bitterness of this day. I told Kiera I'd be fine, that I wanted to drive by myself to be alone with my thoughts. The reality is, she'd be confused and maybe even pissed off if she hopped into my car after all of this and I started singing along to "Lilac Wine". She always liked Trent, and I can see why.
In the beginning things were great. Better than great, I'd venture to say they were fan-****in'-tabulous. So many nights of laughter and love making. Going to movies, and making out once the lights went down. So juvenile. Sleeping in until 2pm on a Saturday. Singing along to Billy Joel songs on our road trip to see my aunt before she passed away. Learning to cook, simply so he'd have a wonderful, yummie meal to eat. If it were up to me, we'd have been living off turkey sandwiches and tortilla chips for the past couple years.
Of course, it's possible those memories only seem so happy now that things are so bad. Retrospect. I've always rather like that word. I like the way it sounds, the way it feels in my mouth. I mean, isn't it funny how when you look back on the past it always seems a bit more magical and sweet? A memory of being sick with the flu, violently wrenching and heaving over the toilet while your frail, eight year old body shakes and grows weaker, and all you remember about it is that your mom wrapped you up so tightly in your favorite sleeping bag on the couch. She let you watch talk shows and cartoons all day, and she bought a two liter of Vernors for you to sip on to “settle your stomach”. For an entire day, you were the most important person in the house, and you were the only person your mom even loved. Retrospect.
I catch him still looking at me. Standing there, watching me go through the rest of his music collection, deciding on what I want. I realize how brutal this must be for him. Well, I guess I don’t actually realize it, or else I’d have done things differently and we wouldn’t both be standing here like this right now. He wants me to say something, I can tell, but I don’t. I can’t. Not only for the obvious reasons, but because I just can’t bring myself to show any outwardly compassion toward him. He is staring at me with longing eyes and his mouth in a confused sort of line. I show him the final album I’m claiming as mine: Jewel’s Spirit, and his facial expression quickly turns to a smirk. Now I’m really irritated. He always did think he had better musical taste than I did. I know what he’s thinking behind that smirky little face with his lips pursed. Just wait until I get started on the movies, dude.
After everything is finally loaded up, Zeph tells me Trent wants to talk to me real quick. Kiera looks at me and nods her head in approval.
“Just go on ahead without me, I’ll meet you guys at the apartment. Chinese sound good?”
Zeph perks up.
“Yeah, especially if you’re buyin’.” Kiera nudges him and I smile back at them both. Come to think of it, I’m starving. Zeph must be too, he just did the work of 4 men carrying all of my crap out of there.
I turn the corner into the bedroom where he is standing, waiting for me. As he looks up I see that he has tears in his eyes. Those eyes- those damn eyes. It is super cliché to melt and get flutters in your stomach just by looking into someone’s eyes, but too bad. That is exactly what used to happen when he looked at me so intently. The color of blue that swirls through the irises of his eyes is hard to describe. It is sort of this soft, baby blue, the kind you only see in the in receiving blankets or those hats they put on newborns. His eyes are that kind of blue, only piercing, and penetrating. The richest, most decadent baby blue ever. And now I was swimming in them, only they are flooded with Trent’s tears. Tears that I’m sure he didn’t mean for me to see. Tears that are most likely only the beginning. I, myself, had done most of my crying last night. Or so I thought.
Suddenly I’m weeping. Weeping like a damn baby, so hard that my stupid face hurts. I’m hanging my head and my body is pressed up to the corner of the wall, as if I cannot possibly balance on my own two legs anymore.
“What the hell? You don’t get to cry Maggs, this is my time. I get to wallow in self pity, not you. I’m the dumb-*** loser, remember?!” He is desperately trying to sniff back tears, and I can hear the anger in his voice. He turns away for a moment, and tosses something he had been holding into the closet. Thump. His dirty clothes on the floor soften the blow for the object.
“I-I’m sorry!” I manage to gasp in between sobs. I don’t know what’s come over me. He’s right. I shouldn’t be allowed to cry right now, and up until a couple seconds ago, I didn’t think I wanted or needed to.
“For everything, okay? I’m sorry Trent.” I’m looking right into his eyes again. Somehow I’ve managed to push myself off the wall and stumble over to him. I’ve got my hands on his shoulders, mostly to steady myself.
“You’ve never said that to me before, this whole time, through all of this…you’ve never once said it, and you pick right now to say it.” I can’t tell if he’s pissed or shocked. Probably both.
“I haven’t felt sorry until right now.” That’s not entirely true. I felt sorry that first night, when I told him. After that, it had been torture just passing him in the hallway. Suddenly we were strangers living together, until our lease was up and I could finally leave. I wasn’t going to stick him with the rent, that’d be adding insult to injury. But I certainly didn’t feel sorry after four and a half months of jeers and insults as I left for work each day. I wasn’t feeling all that sorry after he called my parents and completely distorted the situation and my mother called me sobbing and practically cussed me out. And I especially wasn’t feeling sorry when he made a pass at Kiera the night we tried going out to the bar as “friends”. But I’m sorry now. Seeing him there, in his floppy jeans and faded Red Hot Chili Peppers tee shirt, angry and sad and disgusted with me; and being able to almost see those emotions radiate from him like neon from a lamp, practically being swept up into everything he is feeling, yes, now I am sorry.
He has lost whatever grip he had over his emotions and has succumbed to the tears now. He gently lifts my hands off of his shoulders and continues to hold them down at our sides. For a moment it seems like he’s leaning in toward me. The tears are still falling, but his face is calm and still. The baby blue color in his eyes doesn’t look as rich as it usually does. The tears must have stolen some of it on their way out. Still, there is enough color and vigor and flash in there to make my stomach do a flip-flop the way it hasn't since our first date. What is this feeling? Am I making a mistake? Should I try and work it out, stay and beg for his forgiveness? No, Maggie, get a grip. Maybe he just wants one last kiss. To say goodbye, get some sense of closure. Might be good both of you. I let his breath grow closer to my cheek, and finally he turns so that his lips are fractions of centimeters away from mine.
“Maggie. I think you should go now.”
The longest walk in my entire life back down to my car.