He smiled down at her, and slipped his fingers through her hair.
“I will always love you,” His voice and smile simultaneously faltered. He looked away. She bit her lip and a tear slipped down her cheek. His heart was heavy, swollen. Words failed him. He couldn’t change her mind, and he wouldn’t dare try. It was his and his family’s problem. Not hers.
Loss: That was easy to think, but in reality, in this moment, all he could see was her. And in a few days, he would only be able to daydream about her presence. He would only hear her laugh and voice through the phone. “They” would become something of the past.
Jealousy: He didn’t want to imagine anyone else touching this hair, kissing those tears, wrapping their arms around her to make her feel better. But he did. He imagined and tortured himself. Some days he was just numb.
Fear: someday she would tell someone else “I love you.” His heart screamed beneath his ribcage. What if he did dare to try to change her mind? Stay with me, yes, that was what his heart was screaming. Stay with me.
Love: But he also didn’t want her to hear the judge announce the deportation was final. He didn’t want her to wave goodbye at the airport and drive home alone. How could he let her drive home alone? He was going to be sitting on a direct flight to Central America and she would be driving that little Honda he teased her about down 78, crying, because he would be crying, because what else was there to do now but cry? He could not put her through that. He would not.
Anger: He was causing her pain indirectly and he wouldn’t even be around to make her feel better. God damn it. His swollen heart crawled upwards to a lump in his throat. He loved her and he couldn’t keep her.
He leaned in. His lips kissed hers, long and hard. She was ending it and he had to respect it. Had to accept it. He had to accept all of this.
Truth: “I will always love you.”
He said it again and again.