Requiem For A High School Love

Jay and Kay started dating in high school. They recently started college and Jay wants to date other girls. But, he still loves Kay. Today Kay has come to his house to get her things. Two people who still love each other will come together at the door.

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1. The Door

The soft sound knocking on the door echoes into his parents’ house. Jay knows that Kay is the visitor because he recognizes the familiar pattern of her footfalls on the walkway from her visits since the time they were in high school.

Jay is sitting in a chair in the kitchen waiting for Kay to retrieve her belongings, left with him over the three years of their tumulus relationship. Her things are all stuffed into her gym bag. He places his hands on thighs and prepares to rise and walk to the door. He pauses and tries to prepare himself for the worst. She is angry. She has a right to be angry. He deserves it. At least when it is done, it will, hopefully, be over. As he thinks the thought, he knows he doesn't believe it. He has been here before, they both have. All he really wants right now, is to stop feeling the pain and guilt of hurting her.

#

Kay raises her small hand, balled into a tiny fist to knock again on the big wooden door. Why is she here? Is she here to fight? No, she is here for answers. She needs to know where she and Jay stand so that, if she must, she can finally let go of this relationship. Then she can start the grieving process. Once that process begins there is no going back for her. It will hurt, but as with all things, this too shall pass.

She also doesn't want to hurt Jay anymore. The only reason she has fought for this relationship is that she honestly feels that he loves her, and that he is truly happy when he is with her. Yes, she can tell that sometimes he gets scared, she can understand that. Sometimes she gets scared too.

Kay sees the outline of Jay in the frosted glass of the door as he approaches it. She is struck by a thought that this boy represents her everything or that once he did. How could she have thought that he, at one time, was all that she was looking for?

She sees he has the gym bag in his hand. He wants to make this go away, her to go away. Fine she thinks to herself. She won’t push or cry. Under no circumstances will she, like in the past, beg him to agree to try again.

#

Jay opens the door, and looks into her eyes. He doesn't speak. He is not as ready for this moment as he thought he would be. He is struck by the presence of her and he is speechless.

"Hey" she says after a moment when he won’t fill the silence.

"Hey" he responds. Immediately he winces because he knows he just sounded callous. He looks down at the bag in his hand, then back at her. He reaches out, and extends it to her. "Here" he offers. She takes the bag. There, he thinks to himself, there is nothing left to do but argue.

"Thanks" she says. She starts to turn away and pauses as if he said something. He stares back at her blankly. She sighs and turns away again.

"I'm sorry" he involuntarily utters. He doesn't know why he has said that, but he immediately knows it is his honest feeling.

"I know" she replies. She starts to walk away but stops. She slowly turns back toward him.

#

They have known each other since High School. They started going out when Jay asked her to the Winter Formal dance. Kay remembers telling her best friend Sally that he was not her type. Sally asked her what her type was, and Key realized that she was holding on to the prince charming image that she had since she was in elementary school. Time to let that immature vision go and allow a real boy in if she was to ever have a real relationship.

She decided to give Jay a chance and had the most wonderful date of her life. No one has ever made her feel so loved and appreciated. He was genuinely interested in her, the real her, inside. Later, she felt that she was able to fully open up to him and she felt safe. She knew it was too early to think such a thing, but she felt then that she loved him. She had found her soul-mate.

#

Jay thought that Kay was beautiful. Jay asked Kay out because he figured most of the boys in school were intimidated by her confidence, so maybe he had a chance. Where was her confidence now? Has he destroyed it? Is it even possible to do that to someone?

Jay is reminded of the time when he was picked to be on the school debate team. Something he worked hard for. He stopped by his house on the way to see Kay, and as he was leaving, he realized that he did not share the good news with his parents. His only thought was to tell Kay. A major event in his life was not a real until he had a chance to tell Kay. Her unconditional support of everything he did was his emotional foundation. That was the moment that he finally stopped and thought about how much she meant to him. He always liked her and wanted her, but, it was then that he realized that he loved her.

#

"Well, I'll let you get back to whatever you were doing. Or, your new girlfriend or something" Kay says.

Ouch, Jay thinks. She is hurt because he cannot seem to commit to her. He must stop making her feel this way. He tries to stop doing it, but his feelings, his mind, and his eyes wander to other girls. Every day that he tries and fails to only think of Kay he feels worse. He has tried for over a year and it is just not working. Why is it so easy for Kay? Are women so different from men? Doesn't she have feelings for other guys?

They have broken up in the past, but, never more than a week or so. Jay knows that there were a few times when he let a small disagreement grow into a break up because he was feeling trapped. Always his feelings for her would reawaken and he would want her back. Many times, they broke up and made up at this very doorway.

However, that was before they both went to college. The college girls are the problem. Brianna is the problem. No, that's not the whole truth, he has also been thinking about Ashley. Brianna, he has only been thinking about because she really wants to be with him and has made that clear. She would sleep with him, he is sure of that. Ashley hasn't given him the time of day but she is smoking hot. He can't stop imagining what it would be like to be with her also.

Everything came to a head when he told Kay that he was going out with friends, he implied that it was his guy friends. It got back to Kay, through her friend Sally, that he went out with Brianna. Kay was humiliated in front of her friends. He immediately tried to get back together with Kay. He only went out with Brianna because she was the first girl other than Kay that wanted to be with him.

Kay of course gave him a hard time and kept bringing up how he hurt her after they got back together. After a week of this he felt irritated and angry towards Kay even though he knew he was in the wrong. Worse, he kept thinking about Brianna and Ashley. He decided they should break up for good. She took a week to get around to doing it, but she finally contacted him to get her stuff.

#

"I'm sorry how things turned out, Kay, I really am." Jay quietly says. It is barely more than a whisper.

Kay notices that he has pulled the door closed so that he barely fits in the opening. It seems like he is blocking the way, as if he thinks that if he created an opening, she would dash into the house. If she did, what would she do once she was inside? I can't make you love me she thinks to herself. If she really believes that, why is she here? What does she hope to accomplish?

He has said he loves her, but maybe he lied? Even if he was telling the truth, maybe he doesn't love her anymore? Or maybe he never truly loved her? Perhaps he doesn't know what love is. What is love anyway? Is it a feeling, or is it a thing? A solid thing that exists on its own? No, that is silly she thinks to herself. Love must be a part of each person. Does each person have their own love? She knows her love for him, that is all she knows. She also knows that it is slowly slipping away. It has been for some time.

Kay is lost. She doesn't know what to say or even what to feel. She looks into his eyes. She wants to know what he is feeling. She tries to imagine what it must be like to be in his head. What if he truly does love her, what is he feeling right now? Is he breaking away because he feels he cannot stop chasing other girls? Perhaps this is just a phase he is going through? Perhaps she wants to see what it is like to date other guys? But... no, she knows that she does not want to lose him. Why can't he feel the same way?

Yes, she thinks as she lowers her eyes away from his face. This is her love. She only has control over her love. Her love is pure and honest. Her love cannot hold someone prisoner. He needs to be free. Perhaps later, at another time, he will come back to her.

Kay turns away. She turns her back is to him. She can feel the tears welling in her eyes. I am going to do it this time she thinks to herself. I am going to break away completely. But, she can't do it. She is not ready to break away. But, she must, she resolves to herself.

"I love you Jay, but I have to set you free." she says and begins to walk away.

#

Jay is surprised at what she has said. He played this conversation out in his head many times with various combinations. The words she just said were never anything he imagined. She wants to set him free because she loves him? This he is unprepared for. He is stunned and he just stares at her back as she walks away. He loses his grip on the door and it slowly opens wider.

The determination on her face doesn't change. She cannot see the turmoil in his now scrambled mind. She can't tell that once again his perception of her has changed. Letting him go, not because she is angry, but because she loves him, makes no sense, yet it is nevertheless effective in shifting that mental image he has always had of her. That mental image people always have of other people. That sense of the other person that allows you to have conversations and imagine experiences with them. It is not really his fault that he was not able to imagine that she could love someone yet still let them go.

Jay feels in his gut that he is about to lose this love forever. This is not like any break up before. This time it is an ending of a love that he can see that he really needs. He really did not know this need existed so he could not have imagined how the loss of it would feel. Kay is almost to the street. He is opening his mouth. He doesn't know what he is about to say.

"Wait!" he calls out to her.

#

Kay hears his voice and stops walking. What can he mean by ‘Wait’? She thinks to herself. What can he possibly say? Yes, she guesses he is going to feel something at her parting words, but he really needs to let her go. What about Brianna? Are there others? Can he stop chasing other girls and love only her? What if he can’t stop and he hurts her again?

She should simply keep walking. But, no, she can't. If there is a chance, even a tiny chance, her mind, her body wants her to take it. She is a prisoner of her own emotions. It hurts, it feels awful.

#

This was your chance to walk away, Jay thinks to himself. You endured the confrontation, the uncomfortable feelings. You paid your penance. You served your time at the door. You are free now. Free to do what you want. Free to date Ashley or Brianna, or both.

So, why call out to her to wait? What is he going to say to her? She turns around to face him. He looks into her eyes and is lost in them, again. As if hurtling down in a roller coaster, he cannot stop what is about to happen. He will ask her to come back. He will ask her to let them try again. She may not agree now, but eventually she will.

But what about Brianna and Ashley? All he knows is that right now he can lose them if it means not losing Kay. For all he knows Kay could come to him next week and tell him she wants to date someone else.

Simply, he is not ready to let go. She is not ready to let go. They are not ready to let go. Perhaps they should not end things now, or ever? If it is so hard to break up maybe they shouldn't?

"Kay.. come back... please?" he says. Jay opens the door wider. Kay doesn't move for a moment. She starts to walk forward and stops. She looks into his eyes. She sees his longing for her, his need for her. She wants to be there for him, to take away the pain he must be feeling at losing her. She also wants to stop the incredible pain in her heart that she is feeling right now.

She takes a step forward and the pain eases. She walks into the house and he closes the door.

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