we drive. the endless flow of traffic lights flicker across our faces, red, then green again.
a never-ending series of dazzling yellow headlights flow over us from passing cars. the car, bathed red in the glow of the taillights of the car ahead of us.
on her finger, the ring i just bought her. engagement ring? wedding ring? dating ring? friendship ring? the myriad possible meanings of the ring seem to flicker within the green stones. the silver band glows red, green, then red again.
“don’t break me again. please.”
our fingers, entangled infinitely in one another. i feel beads of moisture beginning to form on her palm. i know it’s only seconds before she feels them too, pulls her hand away with the excuse of sweaty palms.
our fingers intertwine tighter and tighter. on the radio, some anonymous crooner sings some song about love and loss, from a playlist i thought would be apropos to get her to forgive me.
outside, the air is still. the night is calm, punctuated only by the oncoming whoosh of a passing vehicle, or some lonely driver leaning on his horn. the darkness is infinite, only penetrated by the dim glare of a distant car.
“how can i ever trust you again? what’s the guarantee you won’t hurt me again?”
there are many answers i could give, many things i could say. but i’ve said them all before. ruined the meaning of each with hideous acts. so many promises i could make, but each of them broken into tiny pieces. so many dreams i could weave, but each one i’ve ended with vicious nightmares.
her hair falls softly across her face. i reach over to brush them away from her mouth. lean over slowly to kiss her, but at the last second she moves her face away. i’m left with just her cheek, and the bitter taste of a lonely tear winding its way down the side of her face.
unlike everyone else, when she cries, the tears stream down the side of her face. not by her nose, to pool over her trembling lips, but down the side, where they drip off into the oblivion of her shoulders. when she cries, she rarely makes a noise, but her shivers give it all away.
“i don’t know if i can ever trust you again. you’ve broken me into a million pieces, and i don’t think they can be put back together again.”
i grip her hand tighter, and she reciprocates slowly. the sensation sends shivers of hope down my spine. i kiss away her tears. she rests her head on my shoulder. one kiss for her forehead, one kiss for her nose.
she looks up, kisses me on the lips. soft. tentative. subtle.
i kiss her back. more forcefully. more hopefully.
she pulls away and stares out her window.
“give me time.”
and so we drive. the endless flow of traffic lights flicker across our faces, red, then green again.