When I told her I wanted to see her again, I really wasn't sure that I did. She had gone away to college, I found that out from a mutual friend. I hadn't spoken to her since we broke up almost a year ago. I hadn't moved on, like I told everyone I had.

It was around Christmas time, she was home for the holidays, and she apparently still remembered my number. She called me up and asked when I'd like to meet up with her. I barely heard through the din of my racing heart. Somehow I managed to stammer out the first thing that came to mind, 'lunch'.

There was this Italian place by the mall that she'd never been to, and so it was decided just that quickly. I picked her up at her house, which I pretended to have trouble finding, and we rode off to the restaurant accompanied by pleasant small-talk chatter.

The meal was nice, and the conversation light. I caught her up on all the happenings of the town and she told me about dorm life and communal restrooms. Pleasant. Empty. All the while alarms screaming inside my head to tell her how I still loved her, how I dreamed of her nightly and woke up with a tear in my eye every single day.

The meal was done, the bill paid, and we strolled back to my car. It had only been an hour, and we had all day to spend together, so I asked her what she wanted to do next. She wanted options. I drew up memories of our times together, times past, and subsequently loaded the twin barrels of possibility. The first option: We go to the park, play some catch with the football that seems to have a permanent place in my car, maybe swing on the swings or climb the jungle gym or something equally pleasant. Option two: We go back to my place, pop in a movie, and watch it together on the couch(which in the past, always lead to a romantic encounter). She agrees to the latter.

We get to my place and I load up the DVD player with Mallrats, a tale which somehow perfectly describes our breakup. I bring out my patented oversized stuffed duckling, Duckbert, to keep us company(and score a few points, I admit). The movie passes forgotten as we pretend to battle furiously over the affections of a stuffed duck. Heavy flirting ensues, hands brush body parts...

She pulls away. We were an inch from a kiss and she pulls away. More than a little confused, I freeze up. My mind is racing with possibilities, the most horrid of which is the origin of that new ring I'd noticed on her finger. The movie was over, the room was dark, and I decided she had better get home as soon as possible.

We drove in silence. It wasn't long back to her house, and for that I was thankful. I didn't know what to say anyway. Out of sight did not lead to out of mind, I realized woefully, and I called her up. I was right about the ring. She had a boyfriend, and she told me she loved him. Several uncomfortable days passed after that. I hadn't eaten a thing, or slept, really. She was always on my mind, my emotions ranging from longing to loathing in the span of a broken heartbeat. I had told her I never wanted to see her again; that it was too painful for me to love someone who loved someone else. She wanted to be friends, like we were before we got together in the first place. I told her that I loved her even then, and that I had always wanted more, and I always would. I yelled at her. I cursed at her. I told her it could never happen. I told her that I couldn't take the pain of being so close to her heart and not having a place in it. Afterwards, we didn't speak...

Two days later, I caved. It's always going to be awkward between us, but I know now that I do have a place in her heart, even if I'm not the main feature right now. Sure, I'm always going to hope she falls back in love with me, but with things as they are now, I'll take what I can get.
For further adventures, see stealing a girlfriend.