This micro story was published in the University of Phoenix’s College of Humanities and Sciences 2nd Quarter Newsletter.
People always told me that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I never
believed them. When someone was absent for me, I forgot they existed. I would move on.
That morning when the news report was on, I wasn’t really listening. It seemed
like a sad story. An eight-month-old baby was found dead. A mother and her
roommate arrested. Just more tragedy—it seems like there’s more every day.
This time, however, a few words catch my ear. “Police arrest the mother, 29 year
old Cathy Marie Parker, and her roommate…” The rest is lost for the moment.
Cathy…. My Cathy? I grab the remote and rewind, listening carefully to the
details this time, and as I listen, I can’t reconcile this tragic story with the girlfriend
I had stepped away from two years ago. The girlfriend who told me about her past
while I told her soothingly that she should be proud of where she is now and the
progress she’s made. The girlfriend who could always make me laugh, even when I
couldn’t stop crying for days because my cat was hit by that car.
I knew something had turned bad when she stopped returning calls, when
she made lame excuses for not coming over, when she started wearing too thick
makeup to hide the spottiness of her skin. The day I went to visit her and she kept
me outside as if embarrassed by what was in her house, I knew it was over.
That’s when I did what I always did. I let go. I won’t force someone to be what I want
them to be, and I won’t let myself get pulled in either. So I let go, and pretended to forget.
I rewind again, listening carefully, and with every word, a little candle lit for her
in my heart blew out, leaving behind a deep, dark ache. I sat there in that darkness
and cried, letting the fondness that had grown without me knowing it die
completely for the girl I had once loved and then let go.