“The people you care about are the ones that hurt you the most.”
Ava sat in the corner of Grey Owl Coffee Shop & Book Nook, sipping uninterestedly at her frap. Her mind was elsewhere, beyond the walls of her frequent safe and quiet sanctum.
She was still stuck in the past, seven days (and counting) to be exact. Seven days ago was when David left her life. Forever.
Yes, “forever” sounds quite dramatic, but that was the truth. She had told him to stay out of her life “forever.” And that moment, that one mistake was on repeat in her mind. She replayed it backwards and forwards, but it never changed. She wished it would. And yet, she regretted that wish all the same.
David had been so unexpected, so surprising. And Ava lived for order nowadays. After her parents’ statistical divorce, she strived to keep everything else in her life in order, at the one time everything was falling apart.
And then David rode in, a knight in shining armor, or rather khaki shorts and a Beatles t-shirt. Ava thought back to the day they met, in Grey Owl. She had been walking past the aisles of books, peeking down each slowly. After two or three rows, there was a beautiful boy, his nose stuck in A Walk To Remember By Nicholas Sparks, the exact book Ava had been trying to find for a couple days.
As she strolled by, he looked up and smiled. Ava couldn’t muster up a return smile in her panic and so she rushed down the next aisle, cursing the sudden overtake of shyness. She felt the need to go back to the boy and smile at him, talk to him—something. But instead, as she turned around, there he stood in front of her. His dark tousled hair covered parts of his face but his electrifying blue eyes stuck out to the point where Ava felt frozen in place.
“Hey,” he said with that same smile, one that would become his trademark.
“Um hi.” An awkward silence followed in which Ava saw the book still in his hands, a corner of a page already bent down. “Oh so you’re reading A Walk To Remember. I’ve been looking for that everywhere. School project.”
“Oh really? That’s cool; it’s pretty good so far. But um, well this was the last copy, but you can have it if you want.” His hands didn’t seem to match up with his words though; they didn’t seem like they’d be letting go anytime soon.
“No, its okay.” She reassured him, “I’m sure it’s at another store.” Ava turned to leave but he reached out and grabbed her arm.
“Well, wait. I need it for school too. Um … I could always … share it with you?” He covered up his uncertainty with another sweet smile.
And she smiled back. “Ha, it’s worth a try. I’m Ava.”
“David.” He extended his hand formally and she took it. “So … um I’ll buy you a drink?”
“Yeah. Thanks.” And after one conversation and one coffee, things started to click without warning. And at the time, everything seemed meant to be. Well … almost.
Just thinking of their first meeting made Ava practically smiled, but then she remembered: it was over, and it always would be.
She chose to end it, so why was it causing her so much grief? David was just another guy, just another person. But at the same time, he wasn’t. He was a first lover, a sweet soft smile, a hand entwined tightly with hers. He wasn’t just another guy, but rather a new beginning in the same old story. A story that unfortunately didn’t end in the way she favored.
Even when she chose to end it.