Over the years, I imagine that my tires have worn a path that purposely avoids going near her house. Social contractors were called in to build up walls around my heart that were guaranteed to keep out anyone that I didn't let in through the front door. All the same, I steered clear. Even after her family had moved away, I refused to drive within several blocks of her house for fear that I'd decide to drive by out of nostalgia and find myself lost in the past. There were enough ghosts haunting me as it was, no need to let another demon out of the closet. Maybe if we'd parted on bad terms or if we hadn't been such good friends. Maybe if we'd hated each other or maybe if the newness had worn away. Maybe if we'd ended things on a sour note I wouldn't think back and wonder if things could've been different. Maybe is a word we use when we can't admit to ourselves that the pain is still too much to bear, that the loss hurts more than you're willing to let on.
Strange that we should pass each other on the street that day. I'd decided to drive down that old street on a whim, a fit of ill humor taking control of the wheel and guiding me down a road I hadn't traveled in years. As I came closer to her house, I noticed a familiar car parked across the street. It was almost as though the house had been calling out to us. I drove past her slowly. Tears were running down her face when our eyes locked. Memories flooded over the top of the wall, raining down hundreds of moments on my head in that brief moment. It's strange. A thousand years had passed since last I'd seen her, nearly as many since I'd decided to bury my memories of her. Yet here she was, just as I remembered her. My heart broke when I saw the tears. I'd have given anything at that moment to make them stop. I'd have promised her the world if it meant that my last memory of her wasn't of her in tears.
I sat at the stop sign, staring into my rearview mirror. What was I waiting for? This was fate crying out to me to run back to her to take her in my arms and promise that I'd never leave her again. Wasn't it? Time stopped in that moment. My mind raced, scenarios playing out in my mind of what might happen next.
And then I blinked. Her car was gone. It's hard telling if she was even there at all. Maybe my mind was playing tricks on me, revealing to me just how much I missed her in my life. Maybe I'd closed my eyes for longer than I thought and she'd sped away. Maybe maybe maybe.