This girl he had once imagined spending the rest of his life with.
This girl whose firsts were all with him.
This girl who, at the mere age of thirteen, had already declared he was going to lose his heart to her one day.
‘Go ahead, laugh,’ she had grumbled. ‘But mark my words, Matthijs de Graaf. There will be a time when I’ll be the one laughing. Because one day, you’ll fall in love with me.”
And he had.
“You’ll love me so much that you’ll want to marry me.”
And he had.
“And when that day comes, you’ll even do that stupid thing you hate.” And at his frown, she had said laughingly,
“I asked you once, remember? What you’re willing to do for a girl, and you said—”
The truth had hit him then, and he had grinned as he finished her sentence for her. ‘I won’t give her flowers because it’s out of date, and it would make me feel like a troll trying to pass itself off as a knight.’
‘Exactly,’ she had said cheerfully.
‘Over my dead body,’ he had said just as cheerfully.
‘Don’t you underestimate me. I have my ways, and you mark my words. It will happen.’
And so he had.
His eyes closed, and as his knees slowly fell to the ground, so did his tears. It washed away what little there was of his hatred that remained, washed everything out until all that was left was emptiness.
I’m sorry I listened to you too late. I’m sorry I let you down. I’m sorry.
You & Me Against The World by Marissa Sanchez
Diana could not stop crying.
She hated herself for it. For being so damn weak. For doing exactly what the professor had no doubt expected her to do.
I’m sorry, Professor. I’m so sorry.
He had asked to see her, and when he had come, one look at her appeared to have been enough, and he had said hoarsely, I’ll tell you everything. And then after that, it’s all up to you.
At that time, one look had been enough for her as well. One look at his ashen face, and she had known she had somehow hurt him. She had known, but she hadn’t been able to do a thing. Had been such a mess that all she could do was listen in numb silence as the truth came pouring out.
The woman she had met at the restaurant?
She was his mistress alright, and an extremely well-paid one at that, for Laverne knew of his sickness and the risks came with it.
The last time I had been with her was eight months ago, and I hadn’t even spoken to her until that night.
And as for that other girl from his past…
A childhood friend who had been born with HIV, and he had loved her from the very start. Enough to give her his ring. Enough to trust her completely. And he had paid for it with his life.
She remembered how his voice had faltered at admitting this, and GOD OH GOD she hadn’t been able to do anything.
A stronger woman would have stopped him from talking. Would have wrapped her arms around him and told him that none of it changed anything. Would have done anything except sit there like an idiot.
I’m so sorry.
When it was him that his pain should have rendered helpless, it was her that had become immobile with shock. She had been so damn weak that it had forced him to become strong for her—
I’m so sorry.
She remembered the unusual clumsiness he had displayed as he moved towards the door, and the tears fell harder and faster. She remembered the stiffness in his voice as he spoke his last words—
I’m sorry for deceiving you. I know it’s a lot to process, and having me around is just going to make things harder.
He hadn’t even given her a chance to say anything back. Had probably known that if he did, she would only have ended up saying something they would both regret, do something that would make the truth irrefutable, and the truth was that she was WEAK.
I’m so sorry.
Diana tucked her knees under her chin, hugging them tighter to her chest, but it did nothing to ease the coldness spreading inside of her, and over and over she couldn’t stop sobbing the words in her mind.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
She had the craziest urge to punish herself for her weakness, to knock her head back repeatedly against the wall behind her until her skull was crushed. She just had this crazy, crazy urge to cause herself pain, the way she had hurt him.
Maybe Esther was right, she thought dully. Maybe she really was nothing but a stupid, cowardly fool, and she was better off having someone else control her life.
Maybe…maybe that way, she wouldn’t end up failing the people who trusted her to be strong.