I can’t do it.
I wasn’t running anymore albeit still catching my breath.
I… I just can’t do it.
I don’t know how far away I was from the ceremony but I do know our venue is big enough that no one would be able to find me for quite some time.
“What are you doing L?” I turned around in confusion. I didn’t expect to be followed. Let alone be followed by Aspen.
“How did you find me?”
Aspen. My Aspen. Well, not anymore. Not since I made the decision to leave for a job opportunity in Florida. We were young, and starting our lives together after college was something we have prepared for. We have a place to stay, we both have steady jobs to support ourselves. We were happy. What we weren’t prepared for though is when the universe decided to pull us both in the opposite direction of each other. No one made anyone choose but we both know when one of us leaves, it would mean the end of everything.
He’s standing a good few feet away from me. Careful. Every movement calculated. He doesn’t take his hands out of his pockets but I can see the yearning to take my hand. To lead me out of this hole I inadvertently dug myself.
“Why are you here?”
“You invited me.” He holds up an invitation as a reminder.
“I meant right here…”
“Everyone is wondering where you are. Maxwell almost phoned the police.”
Maxwell. The man who I spent the past five years of my life with. The man who would sit and watch chick flicks with me for hours. The man I jumped on a plane for because his beloved dog passed away. The man who went and saw almost all of my niece’s school recitals. The man who crumbled in front of me because his football team lost.
The man I can’t get myself to marry.
Aspen looks at me waiting. I don’t know what he wants me to say. I know why I can’t marry Maxwell. Scratch that, I know why I don’t want to marry Maxwell, but Aspen doesn’t need to know that.
Five years. Five years is a long time to wonder isn’t it?
“Look, you’re a grown woman. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, or who to marry. But at least go back there and let them know you’re ok.”
His phone started ringing and he doesn’t even bother to check his phone.
“Answer it, please.”
He took it out of his pocket, eyeing the caller. “Hello?”
If he was already serious when he started talking to me, he’s more serious now. His jaw tightens as he listens to what was on the other side of the line. “Alright, I’ll be home as soon as I can.”
“I have to go.” He tells me as he hangs up. An apology written all over his face.
“Is everything ok?” I asked, worried. He hesitated for a bit. “Gretchen’s pregnant.”