As Isaac walked through the rain he nervously reached for Brittany’s hand, just before he realized she wasn’t standing there. In a panic, he turned round and round, surveying the vast expanse of land around him. And then he remembered she wasn’t there anymore. Not there with him, not there period. Brittany had been the one to leave, at least that is what Isaac kept telling himself. Really, he didn’t give her much excuse to stay. He had taken her heart and shattered it in a million pieces, then expected her to just pick up where they had left off, as if nothing had happened.
But then he became angry. Angry at her for not loving him blindly, angry at her friends for convincing her she could do better, but most of all angry at himself for not trying harder. Angry at himself for hurting her in the way that he did. He could have hurt her in a million other ways and she would have been there, but he chose the one that would scar her, and him, for life. Isaac knew when he cheated on Brittany that it would be the end. The end of everything he loved so dearly…
But he couldn’t possibly foresee how she would take it, couldn’t imagine it ending as badly as it did. If he had known how badly it was going to end, he never would have told her, maybe never even cheated on her. But then Isaac thinks back to Alisha, to how she felt in his arms, and he wonders where she is now, what she is doing, if maybe, just maybe, she is thinking of him. As his mind races, Isaac can’t decide where to go or what to do. All he knows is he wants to feel like that again, like nothing he said or did mattered, as though time would erase all the pain he had caused.
He thinks back to that night, to the night that ended it all. It’s as if it happened yesterday, but he knows better. He knows he has to let go, but he won’t. It’s not that he can’t, he just doesn’t want to. Maybe that’s what drove Brittany away, what pushed her to the brink and made her think she had to end it all. Stephanie had called him, said they needed to talk about Brittany and he knew, just knew something was horribly wrong. She said she would meet him at the coffee shop down the street from her apartment, and that he had best set aside the rest of the day.
When they met, she seemed cold, indifferent even. It was as if she was mad at him, though she couldn’t possibly have known what had happened between Brittany and him, because they had both sworn to keep the details between themselves, in order to minimize the heartache of his actions. Their friends didn’t need to be affected by this, or so Isaac thought. He reached out to hug Stephanie, but she just seemed cold, lifeless even, and turned away from him before he could reach her.
She went inside the coffee shop and ordered. He offered to pay, but she told him that wouldn’t be necessary. After receiving her coffee, she went outside and sat down at a table in the back, away from the other patrons. He asked her what was wrong. To this day he remembered her words as if they were on repeat in his brain. “Brittany is in the hospital, and it doesn’t look good. I know what you did, how you hurt her. How could you?”
As the words entered into his mind, a million questions came to the surface, the least of them being what happened. He knew he didn’t deserve to know the details, but he asked anyways. She had swallowed a bunch of pills, a lethal concoction to say the least, given her heart condition. Immediately he wanted to know where she was, but Stephanie said only her family was allowed to see her, and they weren’t sure they wanted to see him anyways.
The next thought that came to mind was how did Stephanie know, and who else knew? When he asked, she just looked at him, handing him a note. It read:
“To all those I love, I’m sorry. To Isaac, I still love you, though I don’t know why. How could you hurt me like this? How could you have such a hold on my heart that I can’t imagine living another day without you, even though you had absolutely no regard for me, no respect for what I had given you? I trusted you with everything, and you shoved it in my face like it was nothing. Some days I wish I had never met you. Others I long for nothing but your arms around me, reassuring me that everything is going to be alright.”
The letter went on, but he was too sick to read any further. Isaac ran into the coffee shop, making it to the bathroom with seconds to spare. As he was cleaning up, there was a knock on the door. He went to answer it, only to find another note, this time from Stephanie.
“I hope you rot in hell for all the pain you have caused. Not that you deserve to know, but the only people who know about everything are Brittany’s dad and myself. I never want to see you again. Don’t bother coming to the hospital or the funeral, because you won’t be welcome. Don’t send a card or flowers or anything. You don’t deserve the solace those things provide. I could go on, but you’ll be back soon and I don’t think I can stomach seeing you again.”
He raced out of the restroom, desperately searching for Stephanie, for someone, anyone. He ran to the counter and asked which way she had gone, only to find out she had been picked up by a blue sedan and they had gone off in the direction of the local hospital. As he tried to think of what to do, Isaac’s mind kept turning to Alisha. He didn’t understand it, but somehow he knew where he needed to be. He searched in his pocket for his phone, until he realized he had left it on the table. As he rushed to the table, he thought to himself that he couldn’t possibly be thinking of her, not after the heartache he had caused. It wasn’t right that Brittany was dying, alone in some hospital and he was thinking of another girl.
He headed home, disgusted with the person he had become. As he walked home, Isaac began to wonder how he had sunk so low, how he had become a shell of the person he once was. He thought back to when he had first met Brittany, how he had crushed on her from the very first time he laid eyes on her. As he sank farther and farther into his thoughts, Isaac realized that he would never be the same without her. He had taken the one good thing in his life and thrown it away for nothing. He thought of turning around and heading for the hospital, but realized that he had already caused enough heartache, he didn’t need to inflict more on them.
As he walked into his apartment, Isaac’s thoughts turned to ending it all then and there. No one would be home for hours, and he knew that he would never make it without her. He looked around, debating how he could end it, but then realized it wouldn’t do any good to end it now. No matter how upset she was, no matter how much Brittany hated him, she would never forgive him for ending it now. He didn’t deserve to not suffer. If anything, he deserved to live a long, painfully slow life for all that he had done to her. As he walked back into his room, he decided he needed to get away for a while. He went to his computer, booked the next flight to Ireland, where his sister was, and started to pack. He called his sister and gave her the details, only to get another call shortly thereafter. He clicked over, only to hear Stephanie’s voice on the other line.
“She’s gone, you bastard. I hope you’re happy.”
She hung up before he could muster a response…
As his flight touched down on a dreary autumn morning, Isaac’s thoughts continued to turn to Brittany. She would have loved it in Ireland. She always enjoyed this kind of weather, and they didn’t get too much of it in California. She would have been at home here. He hoped and prayed that she was in a place just like this, wherever that was. As he got off the plane, Isaac’s sister rushed to meet him. He just simply wanted to be alone, so when they got to her home, he threw his bags in the guest room and headed outside. As he walked around the vast expanse of land he could almost feel Brittany there with him. He reached out to grab her, praying that she would be there, all the while knowing she wouldn’t be…