“You know I’m divorced. I’ve been in a similar situation.”
“I know. I’m not saying that you don’t understand.”
There was a pause at the other end of the line. He knew she was being careful.
“You know you can speak freely. You know you can’t hurt me.”
“I haven’t been alone in twenty years.” It was his turn to pause. “Ok, that’s not true. I’ve been alone for the last ten. Even with a bunch of people around me all the time, I was alone. I’ve told you this, I think.”
“You have, indirectly.”
“Yeah. I tell you things I tell no one else. I still don’t know why.”
“I tell you things I don’t tell anyone else either. I’m just as clueless.”
“We’ve been talking for six years. If we didn’t talk about these things, we would have run out of things to say to each other a long time ago I guess.”
He knew she was still on the other end, quiet.
“You still have apprehensions?”
“Yes. Maybe. I don’t know.”
He tossed the contradictions in her accent around in his mind. This has always been a completely irrational thing for him. And yet, here he was.
“I need to ask again. Would you meet me?”
“I don’t know.”
“So there’s only one way to find out. I’ll show up at the airport, and wait for you.”
“Are you serious?”
“For the first time in twenty years, I can do this. So yes, I am serious.”
“What if I told you to not come?”
He paused for a beat. “I would anyway. I need to find out if this is real or a mirage. What we have right now is an illusion.”
“I really don’t know.”
“I’m sorry if this feels like I’m forcing you to decide. There’s been enough time. Everything that we can say without being face-to-face has been said. Let’s find out if this relationship can survive, well, us.”
“You’ll come here?”
“I’ll be at your airport the afternoon of Friday. I will email you a picture of me when I land. If you’re there, you can decide if you want to approach me or not.”
He waited for a response. More silence.
“In the end the decision will be yours. The cost of travelling to your city is worth knowing if you can overcome your fear. I’m not afraid anymore. I have nothing left to lose. All I ask is if you decide to not meet me, email me goodbye. You’ll not hear from me again.”
Her voice was soft, but steady. “Please understand… I can’t promise you anything.”
“I know you can’t. See you soon.”