Zack grabbed the sweatshirt from the bottom drawer of his dresser, and was about to kick the dresser drawer shut with his left foot, when his heart nearly stopped beating. He stood on his right foot without moving a muscle. Staring at the envelope, he was in a total state of shock. This is the envelope he had searched for but could not find. This is the envelope he had nearly torn his apartment apart in an attempt to locate. “How,” he thought, “could that envelope be here? How could I have missed it? I looked everywhere for that letter.”
He placed his left foot back onto the floor, bent over and picked up the precious document with both hands. He removed the letter and began to read aloud, as if it did not exist unless he heard the words again.
It has been over two months since we last talked, and I miss you.
My situation here is still very good, and the company continues to treat me well. Business is booming, and we have a large backlog of cases, so I am working very hard, and am now billing over 60 hours per week. Needless to say, I don’t have much of a private life.
I feel so bad, and sad that our relationship had to suffer with my move to Chicago. I do miss you, and my love for you has not diminished one iota.
I wish you would reconsider your decision to stay in New York City. After our last conversation, I feel you prefer me to not call you, so if you would like to talk, please call me??!!
My new cell phone number is 312-555-7439.
All my love,
He had not seen this letter for over six months. He was stunned to find it, and he was overwhelmed with an emotion he could not identify. He did not know if he was happy, sad, overjoyed, disappointed or angry. For the first two months after receiving it he did not care, but as time progressed he began to feel a sense of loss. Small things would remind him of Julie, and he would find himself thinking about her, and slowly he slipped into a depressive state of mind he could not break out of, at least until he met Karen, who in many ways resembled Julie.
“Karen!” he thought. “Oh no, I am so late.” He admonished himself. He had been rushing to get ready because he was already late, so he folded the letter, and stuffed it into his pocket; he pulled the sweatshirt over his head, grabbed his keys, backpack, and cell phone, and ran out the door.
While on the subway he had some time to think things over, but he felt like the pressure was too great. It felt like he was about to retake his final examination in Corporate Tax Accounting 403, or even the C.P.A. examination without having studied for it. Although he had received an “A” for the course, and got his accounting license on the first try, he now felt like he was a failure in life.
“What should I do?” He asked himself.
He wondered if it was too late. He also wondered if he should just move on, or maybe just ignore his own feelings.
He transferred to the subway that would take him from Manhattan to Queens, knowing he had only about 25 minutes to make some very important decisions, and he needed the time.
As he left the subway station, he called Karen to let her know where he was, and she was happy to hear from him, even though he was late. She said she had changed her mind about dinner, and she would prefer to eat at her favorite Thai restaurant, so they agreed to meet there as soon as possible. She said she might have changed her mind about food, but not about dessert.
On any other night her comment about dessert would have stirred his blood and raised his hormone level, but on this night it brought him a sense of fear. Tonight was supposed to be their first night of intimacy. They had agreed he would spend the night in her apartment. But now he was confused, and he felt like his brain was full of fog that was blocking his vision.
They arrived at the same time, and as he approached the restaurant from one direction he could see her coming from the other. She walked with a level of energy and assurance most people pray for and covet. She carried herself in a carefree manner that demonstrated she did not take life too seriously. She always seemed to be smiling. She appeared to be a picture of perfection wearing a sexy white sundress and sandals on this beautiful warm spring afternoon.
They greeted each other with a quick kiss, and entered the restaurant, where they joined the line and placed their orders. They were given a number, and found a table overlooking the street. They began to talk of the day’s events, and she described her’s with her usual enthusiasm – talking as fast as he could listen even on a good day.
He listened as well as he could under the circumstances, and did not have any questions, and did not make many comments.
During the meal she continued to carry the conversation, but she began to feel something was not right. When she talked to him she usually looked at him. She always enjoyed looking at him. His brown eyes were charming, and the black waves in his hair made him very handsome. He was good to look at, and she knew everyone else thought so too. But, tonight something was not right, and it finally occurred to her that he was not looking back. He was either looking at his food, or he was looking past her and out the window.
She paused in mid-sentence and asked him if anything was wrong.
He responded by looking directly into her eyes and telling her that everything was fine.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” he said. But, she detected a slight hesitation in his answer.
“You don’t seem too sure. Are you nervous about our plans tonight?”
He now felt trapped. What could he say? So, he replied with, “no, I am not nervous.”
She now sensed something was definitely wrong because his eyes were looking past her again. So she said, “I know something is not right. What is it?”
“This was not good.” He thought. “What am I going to say?” He responded by telling her, “I can’t talk about it.” He then realized what he had said was definitely not good; In fact it was sure to be a disaster.
The conversation between the two lovers then began a slow and slippery slide down a slope that took them both to an emotional landing. He could not talk to her about the letter, and what it represented, while she could not understand how he could keep something personal from her, and what that represented. “After all,” she thought to herself, “I tell him everything, and I am always so comfortable with him. We have become so very close in the last month since we have been dating.”
As they were leaving the restaurant the conversation came to a head. They were both mature, and it was constructive, but the conversation continued to slip toward that emotional breaking point that she reached first, which brought her anger to the surface. She did not want to be upset, but it happened without her realizing it. Suddenly she felt this issue must become conclusive. The issue seemed to have a life of its own; it also had its own destiny, and was controlling her, and she did not like it. It only made her more angry.
Her next statement began with a whisper as she spoke, “Well then,
When you decide you can talk with me, and when you decide you can confide in someone you love,” she realized while she was talking that he had never actually said he loved her, so she quickly corrected herself, while raising the tone of her voice along with its volume, “someone who is your best friend, let me know!” She then added, “You have my number!” She was now very angry, and her voice demonstrated it, while her face showed it, and he could feel it. Her face was red, and her eyes were hard as she turned and walked away from him without waiting for a response.
He just stood there looking at her. He did not know if he should give into his weakness and cry, or if he should take responsibility for his actions, and do something. Without thinking he turned, and walked toward the subway station. He did not see the traffic; He did not notice the people who were coming and going, and he did not notice that the weather had changed as dark clouds pressed down upon him. He was looking down at his feet while his entire future was being balanced in his frozen mind.
As he approached the stairs leading down to the subway, he came to a conclusion. He didn’t know from where in his brain, and he didn’t know how it had arrived, but he did know what must be done. “No,” he thought,
“I know what I want, and I know what I need.”
He reached into his pocket. He took out the cell phone and began the call...