Shawn opened the door and there she was, just as she had dreamed she would be. Anabelle stood in her fur-rimmed coat and high heeled shoes, her amazingly beautiful auburn hair held in a bun by a diamond comb.
“May I come in?” She asked, and Shawn stood aside to let her enter.
Before the door had completely closed, Shawn and Annabelle’s lips met in a passionate kiss. Shawn closed her eyes and held Anabelle close to her. The metal chain on Anabelle’s purse pushed up against her ribcage but she only held on tighter.
They parted and holding hands walked to the couch and sat down. Shawn smiled at Anabelle, and then she reached up taking the comb out so that Anabelle’s auburn hair cascaded down her back.
She reached out to undo Anabelle’s coat but a hand grabbed her wrist.. “I’m not staying.” Anabelle said, “I’ve only come to say goodbye.”
The look on Shawn’s face must have been horrible because Anabelle reached out her still gloved hands to smooth away the wrinkles in Shawn’s brow. Then she kissed her forehead, and her cheeks, and her lips before sitting back and grabbing Shawn’s hands once again.
“What…” Shawn started, but she could go no further.
Anabelle turned aside so that her hair hid her expression and when she turned back, her face held a serene smile.
“You know he’ll never leave me alone.” she began, “Not if I leave him. He has a vengeful nature. He can’t be taken advantage of. I was able to convince him that it was a momentary insanity. That I simply wanted him to appreciate me more.”
“But that’s a lie!” Shawn cried bitterly, “You don’t want him. You don’t want that life. We could find some other way to live. We could be together.”
Anabelle placed a finger on Shawn’s lips. “Hush.” She said.”Tomorrow he is taking me to Europe, and you and I will never meet again. Let’s not waste this time arguing.”
Shawn was overwhelmed. She felt more emotions at once than she knew how to feel: loss, anger, fear, despair, passion, all fighting for expression. Instead, she sat there silently staring at the woman who had showed her more about herself in four days than she had known her entire life.
Anabelle ran a hand down Shawn’s arm and smiled. “I just wanted to see you again. To remember you … for a while, before I forget you forever.”
“Forget me?” Shawn cried her voice breaking. “So this meant nothing to you. Just another worthless love affair. A charity job for a poor, ugly nobody.”
Anabelle hugged Shawn who soaked her coat with tears. “No love. This means everything to me. That’s why I have to forget it.
“I have no control over my life. I never have. I come, I go, I’m nothing on my own. I’ve loved others before, and they’ve been torn away from me. I had no power to stop it anymore than I have the power to stop this now. But I’ve learned how to cope with loss.
“When I leave you, I’ll wall off the the room that I had set aside for you in my heart. Because even if we met again, you won’t live there anymore.
“Sometimes, I walk past the doors of my memory and remember the friends that I used to have. I remember moments where emotions flowed deep. When I thought that love would keep me safe forever. But things changed, and those people went away never to return.
“Life doesn’t give us second chances.
“I loved you, and in someway I will always love you, but to open the door to our love would only cause me sadness and pain so I close it and hide the key. You’ll go on, and so will I.
“I could wallow in my sadness. I could swim in a sea of memory and cry, people do. But I’m a realist and I know that even if we meet again it won’t ever be the same. I’ll smile, and hug you, and we will talk of old times, but what you feel for me will only be an echo of the emotion that we feel now.”
“Don’t try to tell me what I feel.” Shawn croaked, “Don’t guess what I WILL feel. Touch me! Feel my heart! Do you know the pain that you are causing?”
“It will go away. Trust me, it will go away. Try to forget it. Forget me. It’s better to forget our time together than to be haunted by its memory.”
Anabelle leaned forward and kissed Shawn’s forehead. She stood brushing the tears off of her dress with her lace-gloved hands. She piled her long hair back up onto her head and secured it again with the comb.
Shawn fell face down on the couch and cried. The sound of the doorknob turning charged her, and she rose running to grab Anabelle’s arm. Anabelle turned toward her. Her face masked with a smile. One tear rolled down her cheek. “I love you.” She said and then walked away closing the door behind her.