Law packed up the blanket, took my hand, and led me away. I looked back over my shoulder for one last glimpse of the place that brought me so much hope and happiness.
Not knowing it would be the only time I ever saw it, and that he would break my first condition.
We never went back.
And I never had confirmation, but as far as I knew, he broke the second.
While Evelyn spends the next few days home from school with the flu, I make use of the time outside. Since this is my short work week, I have a lot of downtime. I love my daughter, but that doesn’t mean I love her germs. There’s only so much cleaning I can do inside before I’m repeating the same tasks with little result. Her bedding is in the wash and I sanitized everything she’s touched. Until she’s better, that’s the most I intend to do.
After opening some windows, which helps Evelyn breathe easier through the congestion, I retrieve the power washer and clean the ones still closed from the outside. The brisk air bites into my cheeks with an invigorating nip. I’m wheeling the power washer back to the garage when my phone rings.
“Hey girl. What’s up?”
“I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?” Kiersten fires back. “You drop this mega-bomb about the hottie who is supposedly your long-lost-love and then poof! I never hear about him again.”
“We don’t need to discuss this.”
This conversation requires fresh air. I swap the phone to my blue tooth and snatch my rake, leaving the warmth of my garage. Might as well keep working while she asks me twenty more questions.
“I think we do. I
’ve known you for what feels like a lifetime and I’m only now starting to realize that you are an emotion hoarder.”
My steps falter. “A what?”
“You hoard your emotions!” she cries, then keeps right on going. “I don’t know how you do it. I tell you everything. And, if I can’t get to you for a while, I feel like I’m dying inside.” She sighs. “Are you okay?”
What starts as a giggle transforms into an uncontrollable laugh. Before I know it, I have to clutch the handle of the rake for balance.
“Uh, Cami? Are you having an emotional breakdown right now? Because I have things to do, and I can’t come help you until later.”
“You. Are. Insane,” I wheeze. Tears stream down my cheeks, stinging like little paths of ice in the fall breeze. I swipe them away with the back of my work glove. “No, I’m not okay,” I say soberly as I regain control of myself.
“Oh, shit. I’ll be over later with bourbon.”
“No, no, no. I don’t need that. It’s just… I need you to understand this.” I rake the leaves closest to me in a heap while I gather my thoughts. Working outside and discussing my problems at the same time feels nice. Maybe I need to do this more often.
“I’ve seen Law twice since you met him last month, and neither time ended well. I’m more ready than ever to put him behind me. I need to shove him in a box, lock it, and throw away the key.”
“Are you crazy?”
“I need you to hear me. Not just hear me, but to actually listen. I can’t keep doing this to myself. There’s too much bitterness and resentment between us. I know you want to play cupid matchmaker and give me back the one thing I regret most in my life, but it’s not going to happen. Okay? Please, you’re my best friend, and I need you to drop it.”
“I have one more question and then I promise I’ll drop it.”
I lean against my rake and sigh. “What?”
“Are you sure?” she says softly, and my chest tightens. God, I love this girl. I don’t know what my life would have looked like here if I hadn’t found her.
Tears sting my eyes. I rake again to release some tension. “Yes. There’s no other option.”
“One more thing. This isn’t a question, but it is a requirement.”
Rolling my eyes feels good, even if she can’t see me. “Yes?”
“Go on a date. An actual date, not some tinder crash-and-burn type date. I’m taking you out to the bar, and you’re going to meet a man.”