Finally… tears. Odd enough as it is, I have been waiting for this moment for as long as I can remember—the moment of seeing tears puddle up in his eyes and trickle down his cheek, one by one. Not just any tears, though. The kind of tears you just can’t contain anymore because the feeling of butterflies is so extreme when you look into each other’s eyes, that all you can instinctively do is cry. The kind of tears that nobody would ever imagine come out of his eyes—cold, steel eyes that shut out the world and keep to themselves; eyes that have never shown any ounce of emotion—happy nor sad. My friends have always called me weird for saying all I ever wanted was a guy to cry for me, but if they saw these tears, maybe they would understand why. I could see his tense body just ease up, his muscles relaxing one by one as he kept his gaze locked on me. All I could hear was the faint muffle of the engine as I lay there on top of him in his torn up backseat, my chin perched up on his chest, moving up and down in unison with his breathing. Neither of us said a word—we didn’t have to, for we both knew exactly what the other was thinking. We loved each other. At least that’s what I figured we were both thinking. It was the last night we had together, and in four hours would be 7 a.m., the time he would throw his raggedy old Giants duffle bag I’ve seen one too many times into his trunk, along with all the other taped up boxes and pictures of us.
“198 miles is nothing,” I kept repeating over and over. 198 miles is nothing. College life is nothing. Living on his own was nothing. My sister warned me that things would change when he went. Thrown into a whole new environment he’s never dealt with before, knowing absolutely nobody, seeing thousands of new girls every day, none of which were me. He was going to change right before my eyes, well, theoretically speaking. He would be 198 miles away from my eyes. But no, he wouldn’t do that to me. He loved me. It’s only a month, then we would be right back in the back seat of his Honda in an empty parking lot; the only thing near us would be the flickering street light thirty feet away and maybe a raccoon or two. Everything would be back to normal in a month—we would be inseparable for two whole weeks until he had to go back up again, and more tears would shed from his genuine, loving eyes.
A lot can happen in a month. I never would’ve imagined that the next time I’d see him cry, I would be the one staring with the cold, steel eyes. These weren’t the tears I had seen a month ago. These weren’t the tears I had longed for and they definitely weren’t the type of tears that came from butterflies in our stomachs; more like knots or from a fist to my gut. These were empty, shameful, begging tears. Never again would I ever want a man to cry for me. These were tears of guilt.