“The heart was made to be broken.” ― Oscar Wilde
I remember the first time I had my heart broken. That fucker just smashed into a thousand pieces and stayed that way for a long, long time. Then, I broke someone else’s heart and saw the world from the other side, watching someone crumble and knowing I was doing the right thing. Knowing they would be better without me.
Yesterday was the first time I hurt someone in that way without intending to. I saw it on Natalie’s face as she looked at Ava and I through that window. I tried to go to her, to explain that it meant nothing. A moment of weakness. By the time I made it outside, she was gone.
The rest of the day was a shameful blur. I called Natalie’s cell and her house phone every ten minutes. I left message after message, some making excuses and other simply saying “I’m sorry.”
I never heard from her. Not until this afternoon.
“This is the Banned Library, yes, we are open and the bathroom is by the back door. What can we do for you today,” I heard Darling say.
“Oh, yeah, he’s right here,” he said.
He pushed the “hold” button and looked at me, “It’s Natalie, boss.”
“I’ll take it in my office,” I said.
I closed the door and picked up the handset without sitting down. My finger shook for a moment as it hovered over the blinking extension button. I took a breath and pushed it.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hi,” Natalie said.
There was a pause. There had never been a pause before, not between us.
“Did I get you at a bad time?” she said.
“No, no. Everything’s cool here. How are you?” I pounded myself in the forehead with my free hand. I have never given good phone.
She ignored me. I imagined her smile.
“Can you meet me tomorrow? We need to talk.”
My stomach did a flip, “Sure, yes, anytime is fine. Here at the library?”
“No,” she said. Her imaginary smile vanished from my brain.
“Okay, I...” I struggled for words. I hate the fucking phone, “That’s understandable. How about the cafe. Lunch.”
“That sounds fine,” she said, “I’ll see you then.”
“Good, okay. Natalie, what you saw yesterday-”
“Evan, stop... just stop. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Okay,” I said, “Have a good night.”
“You, too,” she said.
I waited until I heard a click from her end. I sat down behind my desk and leaned back.
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