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Part of the Short Stories Series.

Reality Checks -- 11/27/09

In the two years since they broke up their love relationship, he continued to wonder what happened to her. He found her one summer night and they spoke for about an hour or so.

At the end of that conversation she asked if they could start writing again. He accepted her invitation and they started soon afterwards to communicate. The ensuing letters left some questions unanswered for him. In one letter, he asked if they could meet and she agreed.

She was just as eager as he to meet again, but for different reasons than he imagined. At the restaurant she spoke first, immediately setting the tone and topic.

"You deserve to be told the truth about us when we went together. Tonight is that time. I expect that you will accept what I say and not misinterpret or discount my meaning. This is also the last time we will ever communicate in any form. Do you understand and accept this condition?"

He agreed. It was a shock to him, but at least this last meeting would let the truth be known to them both.

She spoke again. "I was a troubled young woman when we went together. I resented living at home and desperate to get out of there using any means possible. You provided a way for me to get out, at least for short periods of time. You were innocent and that quality allowed me to manipulate you. I used you to get even with men that I felt previoulsy used me. I used you because I couldn't use them or get even with them."

She continued. "I never loved you no matter what I said or how I acted with you. I had selfish desires and you satisfied them in me. It was all part of my way of fighting back against men in general. There never was, now is, or ever will be anything important between us. I'm sorry I used you then. I'm moving on now with my life and you are not a part of my future. Do you have anything to say?"

He responded. "Thank you for thinking about how you effected me. Thank you for the truth and your apology, it means a lot to me. You never told me you were ever sorry about hurting me when we went together, now your apology matters to me more than it would have then. I want you to know I forgave you not long after we broke up. I harbor no ill will or anger towards you. It's because I loved you completely back then, perhaps still do even now."

She interrupted. "Keep in mind that what I said about this being the last time we communicate is fact. You are not my type. Whatever you feel for me is unimportant to me, just as it was back then."

He thought for a few seconds. "It's clear that you are ending the dialog between us. I understand and accept that. I do not need to repeat things twice to you and you have no need to do that to me. Just because I may still love you doesn't mean that you are my type either. I thought this was a conversation of truth and setting the record straight between us. It's not a chance to find blame, or accuse, or to to fight over our old times together. Try to give me credit for maturing and understanding what happened between us as well. I am sorry I ever hurt you. I'm sorry I broke up with you they way I did. You deserved better and I failed back then."

She pondered his words as he looked deeply into her eyes. A change started to take place in her consideration of him. She said, "I'm surprised to hear you say that. I thought you came to see me with the idea we could carry on from where we left off back then. I never considered that you had changed with understanding. Maybe I've been assuming you were the same innocent guy you were. I have no need for innocent guys, I want guys who are on the same level as I am."

Again he though a few moments before he spoke. "I think we understand each other very well now. You are right that this is the last time we will ever have a dialog. We are both right that neither of us is the right "type" for the other. I disagree that we are on the same level, love is not a game to me. I wish you all the best in your life going forward. I think it's time for me to go now. Goodbye."

She was sure now that he was different. In fact she was now starting to be attracted to him. She started remembering that some of his traits did once stir her, maybe she was being too dismissive of him. As they both rose from the table to separately leave, she moved closer to him, looking deeply into his eyes, speaking. "Perhaps we should keep writing instead?"

That option was left open for future consideration. Perhaps one day when they have both lived enough years, reflected enough about life, they would be ready to write each other again. Reality checks have no expiration dates, they can be presented repeatedly over time as the need is felt.


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