“I hated you once, you know?” I said to her as I turned the junction in the car I had acquired three months after working for her father.
She searched my face semi-intensely, trying to see if it was going to be an anecdotal story I was about to tell, or one of genuine emotion. Three months of non-stop practice, my poker face revealed nothing. Or so I thought.
“You hated me?” She asked.
Grimly, I nodded, and turned another junction. From the corner of my eye I saw her turn to face the window.
“You hated me?” She asked again, in disbelief. “Why, did I break your heart?” She laughed. I could hear her swallow her favourite phrase, the audacity!
“I was the one who broke your heart, I know that.” I said to her, slowing down at the red light we had just approached. I turned to her in earnestness, no longer under pressure to concentrate.
“I never got to tell you how painful it was, for me, to end things. You were my best friend for crying out loud. You were the only one I was willing to open up to. I loved you. You were with me through some pretty rough times. And then I ended it.”
She looked at me, the contempt barely concealed in her eyes. “Don’t talk to me about pain-” she started to say, but I cut her.
“I fucking know already, okay? I caused you all the hurt in the world, I know. All I’m saying is that it broke me too. Even now Sarah, now, I want to apologise to you. I want to hug you and cry in your arms and tell you how fucking sorry I am. And look at you, Sarah. I want to do all these things to you, and you’ve moved on. You’re fine. You can sit in a car with me and laugh at my jokes as if there wasn’t any bad blood between us a couple of years ago. It’s been years Sarah, and I still feel like the first week after I broke up our relationship. And that’s why I hated you.”
The horn from the car behind me alerted us to the changed light. Green. Green for movement. But I hadn’t moved on. I had been stuck in a cage of guilt for the last six years.
And from the small smile playing on Sarah’s lips, she had just realised it.
It thrilled her.