The Brightest Sunset

by Ela Michaels
Manitoba, Canada
genre: Romance

Just as the rays of the soon setting sun impaled my skin, I saw him there, standing, watching me.  Our eyes locked at a gaze that was never meant to be.  He knew what he had done and how shattered I was.  I tried desperately to muster up the courage to leave, but my body was frozen in a place I didn’t want to be in, staring back at him.  Memories of our adventures, our laughter and our love came crashing down on me.  I felt my eyes swell with every thought of love, that was now pouring.  And still, he looked at me while whispering the words “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me” across the crowded pathway. Tension built in his face and desperation in his eyes.  I wasn’t supposed to find this out, I wasn’t supposed to be here.

He was with her, and no matter how many times I wished this was a dream, I realized that he was never mine.  I watched as she held his waist, caressed his hair, kissed him, and made every attempt to show the world that he was hers, and only hers.  He held her tight and softly kissed her neck as she laughed and welcomed every part of him.

I had enough, I couldn’t watch this any longer.  I turned around amidst the crowd of people and found my way to the parking lot.  I needed to leave, feeling the waves of anxiety crushing against my lungs, I had to keep my composure and gather the limited strength I had to get in my car and drive away from here, and away from him forever.   “Don’t leave!” yelled a voice from behind me as I frantically tried to find my car keys.  I knew it was him.  My heart beating intensely, and my breaths deep but my voice was silent.  “I’m begging you, please!” again, the tears made their return. 

“You expect me to believe that, that wasn’t real?!” “I know what I saw, and I saw you with...her!” I managed to stand my ground with the anger that escaped me.  “You lied to me, to her, and yourself, why?” I wanted answers, “I thought what we had was real! Why would you do this to me?” I couldn’t look at him anymore, I lowered my head and wiped the stream of tears.  “All I ever did was love you, unconditionally.”  That was it, I had nothing else to say and nothing else to give him. 

Finding my keys, I unlocked the door of my car and got in, his hand grabbed the door as I tried to close it and leave.  “It’s not what you think!” he said in a desperate plea, “I don’t love her, I never did, it’s just all for show!” I could see the tension in his face building and his green eyes were full of pain.  I wanted nothing more than to believe him, but, I couldn’t.  “Please let me in the car and we can talk, I’ll tell you everything, no lies, no secrets, I promise.”  My cars engine was on and all I wanted to do was forgive him and jump into his arms.  But the crushing pain was making me think clearly, and for once, I listened to my head instead of my heart.  “I have to go” I said softly as I reached for the door again.  “Baby please, don’t do this, don’t leave like this, don’t leave me” he reached out to caress my cheek and I leaned into his touch selfishly.  My heart and body started to relax as I finally caught up with my breaths, his touch was soothing and for a split second the pain disappeared. “It hurts too much to love you, and I can’t be the one that is always getting hurt and always getting pushed to the side” a gentle tone within my words as I moved away from his soft fingers and slowly pushed his hand away.  I felt my inner strength rise. 

“So that’s it?!” he said as he reached up to grab his dirty blonde hair and pace around, there was nothing more that he could say to change what I saw and what I was feeling.  “You’re just going to leave?” “You’re going to just run away from me, instead of listening to what happened?” “You know how ridiculous my life is, it’s all about money and personas and complete and total irrationality” he said in one last attempt to salvage the remains of what happened. 

His words clenched my heart, and the urge to flee suddenly started subsiding.  I didn’t want to leave him, because all I’ve ever wanted was to be with him.  He was my first love, and after years of failed relationships and pointless encounters, somehow love, had brought us together from being worlds apart.  I wondered if I would ever feel the love, the passion and the lust for anyone else.  It was up to me now, to give him the opportunity to invite me into his world, or leave completely heartbroken. 

I could feel the tears welting in my eyes again as I looked at the beautiful sunset ahead of me while seated in my car.  I wanted to go back to all those times where he promised me the sunrises and sunsets while we held each other on the beach, laying on a blanket and listening to the waves crashing.  “You promised me this” I said still gazing out the window, he was silent because he knew.  “And I was foolish enough to believe that it was true.” I whispered.  He gently shook his head as he stared at the majesty of the sky.  “It’s funny how the sun rises, and renews your sense of belonging, and the sunset makes you thankful for the day’s endeavours.” “I have much to be thankful for today, but especially for this sunset.” 

Looking at his beautiful green eyes, his dirty blonde hair, his eyes filled with guilt and remorse, I knew what I needed to do, and I would be proud. “Goodnight my love, I will forever love you, more than you will ever know.” I said softly, his face was pale in disbelief and his body began to tense.  “I hope you’ll remember this beautiful sunset, our last beautiful sunset.”  Without any more hesitation, I closed the door to my car, turned the engine on, and feeling more empowered than ever, I let the brightest sunset guide me as I drove away.

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