I just had an “oops” moment when I saw that the challenge was up to “M” and wondered how I got so far behind because I was certainly I had done last Friday. And, I had. Last Friday was “H” so I’ve now done 2 H’s. Ha! 2 H’s, a bargain! 😉 Ah, well. I should have been doing strikethroughs on my list.
All of the stories are linked. Some are better as standalones than others. If you’ve missed any and want to read them, you can catch up here.
I’m twining fragrant white jasmine around a bamboo stake, thinking how romantic that it’s called poet’s jasmine when a shadow falls over me. I straighten up to see Christy standing next to my worktable.
“Hey,” I say, trying to work up to cheerfulness.
She doesn’t even try. “Hey.”
She glances around the nursery while rubbing her palms nervously on her jeans. Finally she meets my eyes again. “I’m leaving. He’s all yours.”
“I love him,” she says, and then adds as if I’ve gone stupid, “Brian. I’ve always loved him. But probably not as long as he’s loved you. And maybe you love him. I hope you love him because he’s the greatest guy I’ve ever met and if you don’t love him, if you’re the type who just plays around with a guy like him, all cat and mouse and crazy, then you don’t deserve him.”
I’m still trying to catch up with what she’s saying. “Why are you leaving?”
She jams her hands in her pants, stares down at her work boots, and shakes her head. “Because it’s just too hard.”
She rubs the back of her hand over her cheeks to erase tears. Her wide brown eyes glare at me. “When I thought he could love me back, it was, like, well, the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life and I’ve never known a lot of happy, so it meant a helluva lot. I just hope you appreciate him. He’s everything, Josie. He is the best. I hope you deserve him and don’t take him for granted.”
As she turns away, her shoulders are shaking with sobs. With someone else, I would have stopped them and hugged, but for Christy I know it’s best to let her go. I almost feel her heartbreak in the air, in what sounds like a distant rumble of thunder, although it’s still March, and I think it can’t be.
I stare at the white petaled flower of the jasmine. Is it coincidence that two people in a week have mentioned me taking love for granted? Fate and the universe at play? I think of the upcoming weekend with Brian. My birthday weekend and suddenly it feels like a lot more pressure than it should. I don’t even know if I love him. Maybe I should cancel to save us both from an awkward weekend. Once I would have called my best friend—Brian. And just remembering how much we once meant to each other makes me believe that I should give this weekend, and Brian, a chance.
Chances are, chances are good.
Categories: A to Z Challenge 2021