The door to the restaurant opened and I willed him to walk through, but only watched as a couple with their toddler hustled in from the rain. The patter on the rooftop mingled with the low dim of voices as I sat, waiting. I sat next to the window and watched people dart around puddles, hunched in their coats, hurrying to where they needed to be. I checked my watch again, noting another 25 minutes had passed. He was 50 minutes late.
The waitress again floated by, a question and pity on her face as she silently asked me if my guest had showed up yet, and if I was ready to order. I sat up straighter and smiled while shaking my head. I didn’t want her or anyone else to know how deep this unsettled me. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. Again. Foolish, foolish girl. Have I not learned my lesson?
He breezes in and out of my life whenever he wants, showing up one day, and leaving just as abruptly. I thought it would have been different this time, that’d I’d be enough to stay. I certainly didn’t think he’d leave today, of all days, and stand me up. We’ve known each other 20 years today, meeting on the playground when we were eight years old.
I sent another text, growing angrier by the second. How dare he do this to me again, after he promised it’d stop. And how pathetic am I to be always waiting? Waiting for him to come back; waiting for him to decide that I am worth it. Anytime he called and needed me, I’d drop everything and drive miles if I needed to. Just to be there for him. To comfort and fight his battles with him. He trusted me, needed me. But what about what I needed?
I checked my phone, but there was still no reply. I stood quickly and walked to the front where the coat rack stood with my jacket. I pushed my arms through and stood outside the door, fumbling with my umbrella. It snapped open and I turned right in time to see him walk past me through the doors. He didn’t see me standing in front of him. I watched as he scanned the restaurant, searching. I cocked my head and hesitated.
I turned around and started walking.