Fiction – Will You Come, or Will You Not?

My impatience and doubt take the form of a bastardized childhood rhyme. ?Will you come, or will you not? You told me once, but I forgot,? plays through my mind on loop. Play, rewind, play, rewind, repeat.

I scan the grey landscape outside the café window for any vague trace of the familiar; a hand, a foot, hair?fiery like a lion’s mane.

I expect men and women to morph before my eyes, suddenly there you’ll be. The barista could be you at any moment. The lady over my right shoulder, the man to my left; anyone could be you, and no one.

In your absence I expect Jack transformations, or Benjamin Button. Telegrams, or soldiers heralding your death. (An impossibility I know, I just spoke to you yesterday, and you have not gone to war.) The world to stop spinning.

Janine Stoll sings over the sound system, a lady sits down with an iced green tea, life goes on, and still I wait. (I would wait a lifetime, but I cannot. My heart, silly fickle thing that it is, will not let you go, but I can get up at any moment and walk away.)

Few things should surprise me now, you’ve done so many I would not have expected of you, but everything does. My heart flips every time someone’s shadow falls across my page. It is so juvenile yet I am powerless against it.

Where do you draw the line? Where do you say enough is enough, I cannot wait any longer? And when, and if, your shadow darkens the doorway, will it bring me peace?

Or will I, like thousands of women before me, look at the clock, or my watch, or my phone, and be disgusted by how long It’s been, how many promises I broke to myself, how many unknown sisters tossed in their graves. I could be treated like a princess, or queen, or just a woman if I gave up on you. Giving up is so harsh though, so final, my lips refuse to speak the words ?I am over you.? Rachel said to Ross’s phone on Friends, ?I am over you,? but I cannot do that. I cannot, I will not, my romantic heart keeps hoping someday, one day, you will choose me. Love me. And I will not regret my words in the morning so long as I do not utter them.

I have read these words, my words, a hundred times now, hoping they have aged well in the minutes they took to write, hoping my phone sings Melissa Etheridge soon. I will wait 32 minutes more, and then . . .

And still, home now an hour since, you do not come, you do not call, you do not write. Are you dead? Am I dead to you? Days like today I am unsure which is worse. Have you forgotten me? Understandable, perhaps, forgivable even, but my heart will not relent this silly, foolish game. Will you come, or will you not?