Shakespeare’s Garden

He waited for the ink to dry before he folded the letter. He looked over it one last time, because he knew that once he sealed it, he would never see those words again — for those words did not belong to him. He sighed in simultaneous relief and fear. He folded it twice, slid it into the envelope, and sealed it. On the front he wrote her name.

His intention was to carry that letter for as long as he needed, until he would encounter the woman he so dearly cherished. The goal was simple, but the action felt far from nigh. He did not care. On his person, always, that was his promise to himself. And so he placed the letter by his bedside, so that the next day he could not forget to carry it. And he slept.

As he left his home the next day, he carried the letter. He stepped out from his door way, and hoped the letter would reach her soundly. He had no expectations. He had no conjectures. He had only the need to tell her how he felt, and nothing more.

He spent his day at work always looking up, that by some miracle she might come wandering through the doorway, as if she knew he had something to say. As his work shift ended, he headed home. It was late. Nine in the evening. Suddenly. His phone rang. Just as her name was draped on the front of the envelope, her name was draped on the front of his phone. She asked him to join her for a nightcap.

Without hesitation, he turned his car around.

They met at the usual spot. A bar filled with locals, a place where every bartender knew his name. They sat behind the bar. She ordered a cocktail. He ordered chartreuse. He looked at her as she looked into her drink. He felt his heart skipping beats. He saw her how he used to. She was the night sky, a summer breeze, an autumn fall of colors. When she would smile, he would forget how to exist. And when she laughed, the world would cease to be around her.

She looked at him as they were finding the ends of their drinks. She asked him if he would like to share a bottle of wine at a garden they once called theirs, mimicking the previous night they shared years ago. He remembered this garden vividly, and recalls it as one of the best times in his life. Straightaway he accepted her offer.

They spent that evening under stars. They laughed at the moon. They relived memories he thought he would never have the opportunity to live once more… He has yet to give her the letter. Content to live in this frozen moment of time with her for as long as possible, he wanted to wait until the last possible second to deliver it.

The night drew near. He knew the end would come eventually, and eventually felt but only a moment. She stated that she needed to part, and so he walked her to her car. As they shared their final words, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the letter. He felt his heart beat rapidly, and tried his best to stiffen his hand from shaking as he held up the letter. He spoke brief of its content, and told her nothing more.

He walked away towards his car. Sat in the driver’s seat and deeply inhaled. Stuttered air billowed out from his lungs, as he started his car and drove away. He wanted to look back, but it was pointless. He felt no relief. The weight he carried was still draped over him, yet now his chest beat empty hollows.

Because he loved her, and knew he would never get to love her.

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