Tuesday, October 07, 2003

One Thousand Ways to Lose a Love

She stopped on the sidewalk by the oak tree and counted the leaves as they fell from the shaking branches. The air was still and chilled. As her body shivered she closed her eyes and imagined herself lying on the cement below the bow among the fingers of the limbs covered by the leaves that fell this time of year. She was trying to distract herself from this day when Matthew called to her from the peak of the oak's body and startled her from her momentary dream. He paused before he spoke again, giving her time to regain her sense of reality. "Here is comes. Try to catch it, Sarah." he yelled as he threw the frisbee from the tree. She made a step to catch the disk but her cautious steps weren’t quick enough and it fell against the concrete with a hollow sound. "Maybe we can work on your arm a little...you will get better at throwing it, catching, too. I promise. Just let me teach you." He hopped from the branches and landed on both feet. He walked to stand in front of her. "Sarah,"
She remained silent, her eyes transfixed on his feet.
"Sarah. Will you look at me?"
She hesitated to make his eye contact, but brought her gaze from the ground to his face. He took a step towards her and was now only inches from her body. Now his eyes faltered and he paused before he spoke again.
"Sarah...you know that I would do anything for you? I would get a thousand frisbees from the thousand tallest trees and carry them down one thousand times and walk one thousand miles to your door and stand, and wait, and call to you until you opened the door and let me inside. "
He brought his arm from his side and offered his hand to her. His pleading eyes were peircing in the stillness.
"Sarah...why won't you let me inside?"
In silence they stood. Matthew brought his hand back to his side dejectedly and took a step backwards. He looked at her once more and conceded to her silence. He stepped backwards, his eyes never breaking from hers until he fumbled on the frisbee laying on the ground. He bent over to pick it up, and when he stood again, his head remained lowered. He quickened his pace and began to run, away from Sarah standing there.
She was breathing so deeply that with every exhalation a cloud of condensation formed in the air around her mouth and nose. She felt a pain of regret. The words came to her mouth with the warm breath she released, but by the time they escaped the trap of her mouth, Matthew had long been out of sight.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Matthew...I just can’t open the door."
She stepped forward, and grasped her arms around her shoulders, pretending to feel the chill of the breeze through the wavering branches of the tree that stood above her. But in the secrets of her heart, she felt a longing for his arms to be wrapped around her, and the chill that kept her frozen there was the fear she had to fall. She was frightened by the nightmare that if she let herself love him, she would only lose him, or worse yet, hurt him. She stayed away and safe by counting leaves and walking too slowly to pick up the things that fell.

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