“Why did you run off like that?” Sidney asked as we drove towards his house.
“I’m not in the mood to talk right now, if you don’t mind,” I growled through gritted teeth.
“No! You’re going to fucking talk. You don’t know you’re way around the city and you could have gotten lost. Something could have happened to you! What the fuck were you thinking?!” he yelled. I’d never heard Sidney yell before, especially at me, and I jumped in surprise at the volume his voice had hit.
“Yeah, because you yelling at me is going to make me want to talk,” I said sarcastically.
“Don’t. Don’t do that. This is me, Misty. Don’t treat me like I’m nothing.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, but didn’t say anything. He was just going to have to suck it up and wait until I was ready to talk. That moment was not right now. He tried a few more times to get me to tell him what was going on, but I never made a sound. We pulled up to his house and I jumped out of the car even before it had stopped moving and walked into the house, and started for the stairs.
“Stop!” Sidney yelled, grabbing my wrist, not hard enough to hurt, but hard enough to keep me from pulling out of his grasp and walking away.
“What, Sidney? What do you want from me?” I asked in exasperation.
“Just tell me what the hell is wrong. I don’t know what happened back there.” He looked at me expectantly.
“If you don’t want me here, just tell me.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m obviously just in your way,” I told him. A flash of understanding passed through his eyes and he sighed.
“Misty…..” he let his voice trail off and I knew it was true then. I was in his way.
“Maybe coming here was a mistake,” I finally said. He narrowed his eyes at me.
“You think it was a mistake to come here?” he asked, anger lacing his tone.
“Wasn’t it? The life you live here is so different from the one you live in Cole Harbour. Maybe I only fit into that life and not this one. Maybe I shouldn’t have ever come.” He let go of my wrist and clenched his hands into fists.
“Are you saying that I’m not the same person?” he asked through gritted teeth.
“Yeah, maybe that is what I’m saying.”
“That’s so typical,” he shot at me.
“What is?” I asked, already bracing myself to have to fight back.
“Something doesn’t go the way you want it so you run,” he growled at me. I felt renewed anger rise up in me.
“I can’t even talk to you right now. You’re being such an asshole!” I yelled before turning to go upstairs.
“Go ahead, run away again! That solves everything, doesn’t it?” he shouted back. I spun back on him.
“I will. I’ll run away. Maybe I should just go home!” That seemed to stop Sidney dead in his tracks. He didn’t respond. I thought this was it. This was his last chance. “There’s nothing keeping me here, right?”
“Misty,” Sidney sighed. I waited for him to say something, anything to tell me that he wanted me to stay. Nothing came.
“Is there? Is there something here I should stay for? Is there something that would keep me in Pittsburgh?” I stood there waiting. I waited for what seemed like eternity. Just say something, Sid. Just tell me to stay.
“I guess not.”
It felt like my heart stopped beating, my lungs deflated, and my legs were going to give out. Instead of standing there in front of him waiting for the inevitable tears to fall, I turned and finished running up the stairs. I ran into the guest room where all of my stuff was and flung the door closed behind me. I turned the lock and collapsed onto the bed, letting the tears come. Sidney didn’t love me.
A while later, tears still flowing freely down my face, I heard a soft knock at the door. I didn’t trust my own voice, and remained quiet. Sidney knocked again and called out my name, but I just couldn’t face him right now. A third knock came, and I squeezed my eyes closed, hoping he’d just think I was sleeping and would go away. Eventually I heard footsteps walk down the hall and into his room.
Hours passed and I couldn’t fall asleep. My heart was broken and never in my life had I ever felt like this before. I came to a decision that I needed to just get away. I couldn’t stay here anymore. I needed to reevaluate whether I could have him in my life when he’d rejected me the way he had. I stood up and quietly packed up my things.
I glanced at the clock when I was done and saw that it was barely 6 am. I slowly opened the door, peering down the hallway to make sure Sidney hadn’t heard it. When I didn’t hear anything, I crept out of the room and down the hallway to the stairs. Then I made my way out of the house, locking up behind me, and got into my car.
A lump formed in my throat as I turned the key. I glanced back at Sidney’s dark house and wondered if I was doing the right thing. He’d been right the night before when he said I run from things I’m not comfortable with. Maybe there was a reason for that. Maybe it was my heart’s way of telling me that I was in trouble. Either way I whispered out a goodbye and backed out of the driveway before heading for New York.
Sidney lay under the blankets staring up at the ceiling. He was a fool. A monumental fool. He was going to have some serious explaining and groveling to do when he saw Misty. Part of him felt like he really hadn’t done anything wrong and she’d just overreacted and part of him felt like he hadn’t done anything to help either.
She’d given him the perfect opportunity to tell her that he was in love with her. She’d asked him if there was anything in Pittsburgh that would keep her there. He should have told her yes. He should have told her that he was there and he couldn’t face being there anymore without her. He hadn’t.
Instead he’d let the anger and sting of being told he was different here than he was at home keep his mouth shut. That had hurt, and he felt it was kind of a low blow. He wasn’t any different. At least he didn’t think so. Could he really help that the stressful and extravagant lifestyle he was forced to live in Pittsburgh was very different from the laid-back one he much preferred in Cole Harbour?
He’d spent years stretching his life much too thin for fear of ever saying no to anyone. If there was anything he just couldn’t do, that was the first thing people said to him. ‘You’re letting hockey get to you. You’re not the same sweet boy you were growing up.’ It wasn’t true. He just knew that wasn’t true, but people expected so much from him. At what point was he allowed to have a life of his own? He wanted it to be before he was 50 and retired and too old and cynical to enjoy it.
When Misty asked him why she should stay all he heard was ‘you’re not the same.’ If there was ever one thing someone he cared about could say to him to really hurt him, it would be that. So instead of telling her he wanted her to stay, he let her think he didn’t care what she did. Now he knew he was going to have to tell her he did care.
He glanced at the clock next to his table and saw that it was almost 7. There was no sunlight coming in between the drapes and that told him it was a gray and overcast day. It fit in perfectly with his mood. He was exhausted from not sleeping much, only drifting in and out, his head spinning with all the things he should have done and said last night.
Then he remembered what he had said to himself the night before. He’d said that today was the day he’d tell Misty how he felt. He was going to hold to that promise to himself. It didn’t matter that she was probably still asleep, he threw back the covers and got up anyway. Sidney put on a t-shirt and walked out of his room to the closed door of the guest room. He knocked quietly and listened for any sound. When he didn’t hear anything he knocked louder and called out Misty’s name. Still there was nothing.
“Misty, I know you’re mad at me, and I deserve it. We just really have to talk. It’s important. I don’t want you to leave Pittsburgh. I need you to stay and I need you to hear me out and hopefully forgive me. Just please open the door,” he begged.
He strained to hear her response, or better yet, the sound of her footsteps moving towards the door. Instead he heard only silence. Swallowing down his nerves he grasped the doorknob and turned it, hoping he wasn’t going to be met with an object flying at his head at barging in. He wasn’t at all prepared for the sight he did find.
He would have taken an object to the head over what he was seeing right now any day. Instead he found that the bed was made. On it sat piles of the clothes that Misty had bought when she’d gone shopping with Vero. He saw white slips on top of the piles and moved closer to the bed to see what they were. He felt his heart ache when he saw them. The clothes had been divided up by store and each receipt was lying on its matching pile. A larger piece of paper lay in the middle of the piles and he leaned over to pick it up.
Since you can’t return the clothes I wore, I took them with me. I’ll send a check in the mail soon for them.
That was it. That was all it said. Sidney didn’t need to read anymore to understand what was going on. His heart felt like it was being ripped to shreds as he sat on the bed, his legs unable to hold him up right now. Misty was gone and she wasn’t coming back. He didn’t think she would ever come back. He’d blown it. He’d blown everything.
He sat there staring at the note for what felt like eternity. It pained him to see it, yet he couldn’t look away. All he could see was the too formal and over the top for a note like that curly handwriting of Misty’s. It was something he’d always loved about her. Her handwriting belonged on royal documents or wedding invitations, not on everyday letters. Now it only brought him pain, because the last thing he’d ever see in her handwriting was a goodbye note that couldn’t even include the goodbye.
He thought of calling her and begging her to come back, but he knew it was no use. He knew Misty and he knew she wouldn’t even have her phone on. He got up and left the room as it was, closing the door behind him so he wouldn’t have to be reminded every time he walked past it. He made his way downstairs and into the kitchen. He froze in his tracks when he saw what was resting on the breakfast bar.
He picked up the photo sitting there and knew, even if he’d thought there was a chance before, that Misty was telling him to stay out of her life for good. He looked at the image of himself grinning happily, Misty on his back her cheek pressed to his, the same grin on her face, that had been taken back in Cole Harbour. She’d told him that it was her favorite picture of them and that she always had it with her so if she was ever upset she could just pull it out and smile. Now it was sitting here, far away from her. He had lost her.