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She was sitting outside your old apartment building.  The furniture that had once decorated your apartment was scattered haphazardly around the front lawn.  Emily was perched on top of the dresser that had been yours when you were a young girl, she was sitting on her hands, her head down.  I wanted to go to her, to wrap my arms around her and hold her.  She looked so small sitting there like that.  She looked alone and abandoned.  You left her like that. 

            This was all so typical of you.  This was the aftermath of what you had done.  You came into a life and tied yourself into it like it was your right.  Then you left for your own selfish reasons.  You had everything.  You had a career.  You had a woman who loved you and would have done anything for you.  What were you missing?  Everywhere you went seas parted for you.  You walked around this earth like you owned it, and everyone you came across treated you as such.  Why was that not enough for you?  None of that matters anymore.  What matters now is what you have left behind, what you did to Emily. 

            I hesitated before climbing out of my car.  She didn’t move as I approached her.  I stood directly in front of her and she still didn’t look up.  I stood there like that, fighting the urge to take her into my arms, to carry her out of this place and to hold her until you were gone, until the pain of what you had done to her eased.  I couldn’t help her though, so I stood there like that completely unable to easer her suffering.

            “Emily?”  I finally whispered.

            She still didn’t look up at me, and when she spoke her voice was horse and hallow.  “I didn’t know who else to call”.

            “It’s okay.  You did the right thing.  I don’t know what we’re going to do with all of your things, but if you want, you can come and stay with us for a while.”  I’d not cleared any of this with my wife of course, but I couldn’t leave Emily like this.  Despite everything that had happened, she was the “one”.  Emily was what all great Hollywood love stories were about.  All of the over dramatic cliches you hear about love that make you laugh and wish life was actually like that, Emily was all of that to me. 

            “I didn’t know who else to call,” she said again.

            “Come on, it’s chilly out here.” I extended my hand and waited.  It seemed like forever before she finally reached out to me and eased herself off of your dresser. 

 

*          *            *

 

            She didn’t speak on the ride back to my house.  All attempts I made at small talk were thwarted.  Looking over at her, slumped in the passenger’s seat of my truck almost made me break down.  I was still so affected by her.  All of the things I had spent so much time burying were rushing back.  Here was the woman who had hurt me more than I had every been hurt before and I wanted nothing more than to hold her.

            “Well, this is it Emily.”

            Finally she responded to my voice.  She looked up at me, her hallow eyes meeting mine then shifting to the house that we were parked in front of.  “Is Jennifer home?”

            “No.  She won’t be home for a couple of hours.”

            “Does she know that you came to pick me up?”

            “No.”  I suppose I could have called her, but part of me didn’t want my wife interfering in this part of my life.  Emily was my past, and the need to help her wasn’t something that Jennifer would understand. 

            “I didn’t know who else to call.”

            “Please stop saying that.”

            She eased herself out of my truck and up the steps to the front porch of my house.  She waited for me to catch up to her.  She seemed so much smaller.  I’d never seen her like this.

            I managed to convince her to have a shower.  She came out in my bathrobe.  When we had lived together while she was still in University, she’d always lazed around the house in my bathrobe.  So much of her was the same, yet so much had changed.  It was like Emily was this moment in time remaining stagnant as everything else continued on around her. 

            I couldn’t stop myself.  I had my arms around her before I could think about what I was doing.  The truth is that I didn’t want to think.  I wanted to remember what she felt like.  I wanted to remember the time I had spent with her, and to feel her against me.  I didn’t want to stop myself. 

            She responded to my touch almost instantly.  She wrapped her arms around me and pressed her body up against mine.  Her lips found mine.  It wasn’t passionate, I could feel her desperation.  If I were a better person I would have stopped her.  I wish I had been strong enough to stop what was coming.  I could have pulled away from her.  I could have, but I didn’t.  Instead, my hands found the tie of  the bathrobe.  I tugged the tie free and I pulled the bathrobe off her shoulders as she fidgeted with my belt. 

            It had been years since Emily and I had been in this position, yet it was as if the parts of my life that included Emily flowed together seamlessly, like there was nothing in between the time when she was mine and now.  The hurt of finding out that she didn’t love me, the jealousy of watching her with you, none of it mattered as I held this tiny piece of heaven in my arms.  That was what I was thinking about as I touched her, as I tasted her.  I was thinking about the calm of having her back in my arms and the peace that came with familiarity.  You were nowhere near that moment in time.  The thought of your lips on hers, your skin pressed up against hers, the terrible images and Earth shaking thoughts that had haunted me for so many years were silenced as I held her.

            I had spent over a year trying to forget her, trying to let everything go.  How do you stop loving someone?  How do you turn such an enormous feeling off?  The truth is you can’t.  The truth is that no matter what that person does to you, and no matter how much time has passed, the weight of your love for them is always there, you just learn to ignore it.  Your body slowly, and painfully, builds up an immunity to that love like antibodies in your blood.  Emily was in my blood, and as our bodies came together my cover was blown.  I’d never stopped loving her.

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