Days later, she could still feel traces he'd left behind. His hands on her hips, his arms around her waist, the way he cradled her head when he embraced her goodbye. She could still remember what it felt like, and she longed to be back there, back to those late nighttime hours before she left, before they both had to go back to real life. With his arms around her, it had taken everything she had to keep from kissing him. She knew, even then, once she kissed him, that was it; the last line of defense around her heart would be broken, and then she would be left to his mercy.
Later, they'd said it was because they were both lonely and broken that they'd let it happen; they were starving for a little bit of comfort. And that was probably true. They really were both lonely and broken, and starving for comfort. The thought had even occurred to her, that everything that night had been a mistake, even believed it for a while. She had to tell herself something to keep from falling apart. She had to tell herself she didn't want him, that it was all wrong, the words they said, her kiss on his forehead. She knew she was getting in too deep, and that this time it could wreck her for good. Especially after the complicated history they shared.
He'd said it would never work, it would only end badly. It would be good for a while, but then it wouldn't. He'd been too afraid of hurting her, certain he would break her heart. But the truth hit her like a freight train one night. She didn't believe any of it, not a word. It wasn't a mistake. She didn't regret it at all. She longed for him, his hands on her waist, her hands running through his hair. The thing she really regretted was not kissing him when she had the chance. It struck her full in the chest, knocking the wind out of her. She loved him, and perhaps always would.
This wasn't something she wanted to realize. This was something she'd rather had stayed buried deep down in a corner of her heart. Because in the end, the knowledge served no good purpose. It only emphasized just how far away from her he was, just how fully unattainable. So she did what she always did to cope. She tucked it away again, forgot she ever realized something so momentous, pretended it was just another pointless piece of trivia to file away in the back of her mind. She pretended her heart didn't fill with longing every time her phone showed a missed call from him, every time she saw a picture of him, every time he crept back into her mind. She'd spent a lifetime trying to perfect the art of controlling her emotions, of keeping them hidden away. How hard could it be to forget that she loved him?