I stayed behind as everyone descended from the hill to the reception area. It had been a beautiful ceremony, even if the objections part was a bit frightening. At least it had been to me. I would have broken down crying, but Gloria had just told him off so eloquently.
I sigh and pick a flower from the ground. As I meander down towards the reception I slowly pull each petal off speaking in a very soft whisper.
“He loves me.” The first petal drifts to the ground.
“He Loves me not.” The second petal drifts down. I could count the petals.
“He loves me.” I watch as it slowly drifts down. An even number would mean,
“He loves me not.” I look up at the trees above me. An odd number would give me,
“He loves me.” I stop. There are no more petals.
I am being silly, as if flowers could tell me what lies inside Ash’s heart. I let the stem go and watch it flutter to the ground. I use to be able to sense what he felt. The stronger the emotion, the easier it was. But that link is gone. I must accept it. But I can’t. I tend that little fire. Someone is near by.
Startled I look up to see Ash standing in front of me. Before I can even utter his name, he draws me into his embrace. Our lips meet and all is forgotten but the flame that flares in my mind. The link aches to reconnect, but it can’t, not yet. I would collapse if he did not hold me.
Then he pulls back, his eyes filled with sadness and pain. “I’m sorry” is all he says, one glistening tear running down his cheek. I reach up to wipe the tear away, to ask why he is sorry, but he’s gone. Vanished into the trees.
“Sorry for what?” I call out. There are a million reasons. He could be sorry because I thought he loved me. He could be sorry because he no longer loves me. He could be sorry because he broke the link. He could be sorry because he’s leaving. He could be sorry because…
‘He hurt you,’ sigh the trees. I shake my head.
I can not afford to wallow in pity. Look where that got me when mother died. I must be strong. I will be strong. Today I am 20. Today Gloria has married her true love. Today is a new day. And maybe, maybe today is the last day I see Ash, but at least he said hello. Even if it was an apologetic good-bye. I sigh.
Today I vow to be strong, for Mom, for Dad, for Grandma B, but most importantly for Ash. Pulling myself together and wiping my tears I race down to the reception, making it to the table before Gloria can notice I was gone.