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Emily called me today. It was such a shock to hear her voice. I want you know that I tried to be there for her. I called her. I went to your apartment. She just seemed to disappear. I knew you would have wanted me to look after her, but she became so unreachable. We lost contact after the funeral. I remember seeing her there. She stood far removed from everyone else. Mom and dad went over to talk to her. I think that must have been hard for her, to pretend to be something else, to talk to our parents as though she was nothing more than your friend and my ex-finance. I went over to her. Her voice was so hollow. Her eyes never met mine as she shook my hand. She just walked away. I tried to call her so many times. Nothing.

Hearing her this morning brought it all back. I remember how angry I was at you. I loved her. I wanted to spend my life with her. From the first time I talked to her I knew that was what I wanted. Everything about Emily fascinated me. She seemed so self assured, so self aware. She gave off so little of herself, but the tiny bread crumbs she left were enough for me to know that I wanted more, and so I followed. The very thought of her was so beautiful and overwhelming. Everything about her was so intense, so heavy, but I wanted the weight. I was so consumed by her. She was reluctant in giving. I’ve never fought so mightily to get inside someone’s walls, nor have I ever thrown myself into something so completely worth while. She was it. We were beautiful together.

I remember when you called me. You sounded the same as you always did. That still grabs me, how nonchalant you were knowing what you had to tell me and how it would hurt and there was no hint of it. I had no idea what was in store for me. You called to invite me out to dinner. You said I could bring my little girlfriend too, like at that point she was still mine. You let me pick the restaurant. I picked what I though Emily would like the best. I thought she’d only met you once, the time I was to go and see your play with her. Something came up at work though, I couldn’t go with her, and I remembered how disastrous that had turned out for her, so I wanted her to be comfortable. I just had no idea. Who could have guessed? My own sister. My own sister and the woman I was bent on marrying. I remember feeling like it was progress, like by bringing Emily to this dinner she was finally making some headway with the family. It’s funny to think about all the times mom and dad lectured me on how young she was, about how she was closer to my sister’s age and that was too young to know what she wanted. Mom begged me not to propose to Emily. I didn’t listen. I just loved her so much. It was so typical of you to take something so dear to me. It was so typical of you to do what you did.

Everything always had to be about you. From the time you were a little girl. You were always selfish. It was small things at first, it got bigger as you got older. Everyone worshiped you. Everyone wanted to be you. You surrounded yourself with people who would cater endlessly to your every desire, people far inferior to you who would stand in your shadow in awe of the nothing that you had to offer them. You needed to feel better than everyone else around you, but the comfort they gave you was hollow. You weren’t happy unless you had everything. It never mattered how you got it. It never mattered who you hurt. You were always in it for you and no-one else. What you have done proves without a doubt who you were and what you were.

I sat next to Emily at the dinner table. I kept my hand on her thigh, she rested her head on my shoulder. I had no idea what was coming. I let Emily pick the wine. Everything seemed normal. The conversation came effortlessly. I attributed it to your social prowess, you’d always been good with all sorts of different people in all sorts of different situations. It was one of the few things I admired about you.

Our dinners arrived. I reached for my knife and Emily intercepted my hand. I looked at her, she held my gaze and I knew something was wrong. “Emily?” I can still hear my voice coming out as nothing more than a choked whisper. I still had no idea. I looked across the table at you. You were smiling. You fucking bitch, you were smiling!

“Tom, there’s something I’ve got to tell you.”

“Is this really the time? Can it wait until we get home?”

She started crying. Her eyes turned such a vibrant shade of green when she’d cry. It was one of the most beautifully painful things I’d ever witnessed.

“I think now is the perfect time.” You were still smiling as you dabbed at the corners of your mouth with your napkin. You continued eating. You knew what was coming. I was going to marry that woman, and you sat there with a smile on your face enjoying your meal while I was about to be delivered one of the most crushing blows of my life. Why would I expect anything less from you. That’s who you’d always been, a selfish, insensitive bitch.

“Oh God Tom, I don’t even know where to start.”

“You can tell me anything.”

She squeezed my hand tighter. “This is going to hurt,” she took a swallow of her water. I think that’s when I figured it out, at least it crossed my mind. I didn’t want her to say it. I just wanted time to stop on that moment forever so I would never have to see her beautiful mouth frame those foul words that cut me so badly. I never thought anything in Emily could hurt me as badly as what came next. I’ve spent so much time thinking about the moments just before the words spilled out of her mouth. Even now, years later, I have a wife and two sons, I still think back to those moments, and I pray that I can go back there and just stop as tears sprang to my eyes, I could just pause life and stay suspended in that moment with Emily holding my hands, and nothing changed.

“I wish there was an easier way to say this. I wish I could put these words together so that this wouldn’t hurt, but there is no subtlety here, so I’ll just say it. I’ve fallen in love with someone else.”

My shoulders heaved as I began to sob. Emily rested her hands between my shoulder blades, that had been her favorite place to kiss me. Her hand felt hot against my back. I couldn’t look at her.

“I didn’t mean for this to happen. Tom, will you please look at me? There is more.”

“More?” I muttered barely clutching to rationality. How could I bare more? What more could there be? “More?” I repeated the word not really sure I could handle anything else.

“Tom,” she placed her hand under my chin, it was wet with tears of her own. She lifted my head and my eyes met hers. Once again I was captured by their beauty as she cried. “Tom, I’ve fallen in love with your sister. I’m moving to Toronto with her next month. I am sorry, but I know that you want me to be happy, and this is what makes me happy. I thought it was you, but I found so much more. I am so sorry.”

“What?” What else could I say? “How long?”

“Do you really want her to answer that Tom?” You were still smiling.

“I’m sorry. I just can’t-” Emily got up to go to the restroom. I started after her. You stopped me.

“Let her go. You heard what she said. Why hurt yourself more?”

I didn’t know what to say to you. I’d like to say that I expected better from you, my sister, but the truth is I didn’t and I never could. It wasn’t even a matter of a lack of closeness between us. That was just the kind of person you were.

“Tell me how long?” I couldn’t be angry with Emily, but I could be angry with you.

“Why does it matter? It’s over now. Maybe you should just go. It will be easier for Emily if you’re not here when she gets back from the bathroom.”

“Just tell me. Please, you win. I just want to know how long.”

“Since the night of my play. She came over to my apartment. I kissed her. I wanted her to stay with me that night. She went back to you. You remember that night right? What happened that night Tom?”

I got up and left. I couldn’t sit there and listen to you anymore. Of course I remembered that night. I’d been planning that night for months. Everything was perfect, except for the fact that my would be bride had been kissing someone else right before she got home. Emily walked in the door. The lights were dim, candles and roses were everywhere. The bed I had shared with her was covered with blue rose peddles, and at the centre was a blue velvet box I was kneeling at the bottom of the bed. She came to me and I took her hands in my own. I was sweating, shaking and crying. I asked her to marry me. She said yes. That was almost eight months before she took everything I had been resting on and wrenched it from beneath me. Eight months of her sleeping with you while carrying on a charade with me. Eight months of planning and thinking and loving. We picked out baby names and chose the colours for our wedding. None of it meant anything.

All of it means nothing now. She really did love you, and I love her. I could not deny her this morning when she called. Her voice still effected me the way it had all those years ago. I could hear her pain and her hurt. I wanted to go to her.

It’s amazing how some things never change. As I pulled my car up to the curb outside your old apartment, I knew my feelings for her had not died. She was still so beautiful. She was skinnier, paler, and slightly unkempt, but I still loved her. I remembered what it had been like to sleep next to her, her body pressed up against mine. I remembered what it was like to hold her in my arms, to feel her head against my chest. I remembered everything, every moment of time spent with her like it was happening now. She wasn’t mine anymore though. Her eyes were empty when she looked at me. You had left her like this, and I hated you all over again.


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