If What We Had Was Real, How Could You be Fine?
On the list of things he didn’t want to do, going home was number one. However, it was his mother’s birthday and he could no longer avoid Edmonton, well he could but he was pretty sure he’d caused his mom enough grief growing up.As soon as the plane landed Tyler wanted to run for the nearest plane carrying him the furthest away from his home town. It wasn’t that the city itself felt suffocating, no, -he loved coming home for Christmas, and any other time his usually busy NHL schedule allotted for- what was suffocating was being back in the same city as Hannah, especially after his brother so kindly informed him of her wedding that was to happen in 3 days.
Waiting for the pilot to announce people being able to exit the aircraft Tyler had time to think about that day a year and a half ago when she told him she was leaving. It was just another nail in the coffin of a bad year for him, not only was his team the Buffalo Sabres sitting at the bottom of the entire NHL, they were dealing with new coaching staff and a GM overhaul as well as typical mid season injuries and temporary teammates. To add to that at the end of the season Tyler was going to be an unrestricted free agent and with the way trades were going in the front office his job could be on the line, but he relaxed a little bit knowing Hannah was coming to Buffalo for Christmas, she would know how to deal with it.
He rolled his eyes at how naïve he had been sitting on the couch waiting for her to go out to dinner, he was going to propose that night –they had been together since high school it seemed like it was overdue- when she came out of the bathroom crying. Her words then still stung now saying she was leaving, she didn’t want to be with him anymore, that their relationship was doomed to go nowhere living in 2 different countries. The pilot’s voice interrupted his downward spiral of thoughts, mindlessly he moves to the end of the plane to exit, he did not want to be here, they had the same friends, he sighs dramatically and makes his way to baggage claim.
He didn’t tell anyone in his family what time his plane was landing, it worked out better that way no one was waiting for him and everyone was at work so he would have time to just be alone. He rented a car and took off towards who knows where, it was like he was on auto pilot through the city. After a few turns he realized where he was heading now, a park not far from his high school, or the house he grew up in where all of his friends would gather weather they were legal or not and drink and laugh and just be teenagers. It was also the first place he ever kissed Hannah, the place he said he loved her the first time, and the place he originally wanted to propose although she’d come down with the flu the night before. Had she known those were his intentions that night? Did she feign sickness to get out of saying no then? He couldn’t help but think that as he sat on the swings watching the wind blow through the trees.
His mind wandered to Christmas just a few years ago, where instead of buying a present he made something for Hannah, it was simple, a box of notes for her to read on occasions where she was missing him things like ‘for when you’re sick’ or ‘for when you’re lonely’ he wondered if she still had those now and if she read them when her fiancé left her alone. He couldn’t help but look at their relationship with only question marks now, what had been real and what had been fake? For him every kiss every touch every “I love you” were as real as could be, but if they were for her too how could she be fine? How could she have moved on if when she said she loved him she wasn’t lying? He concluded there was no way; clearly those years meant nothing to her, all those plans were easily left behind so if it was so easy for her why wasn’t it for him?
He looked at his watch sighed and wandered back to the car; it wasn’t long before he was pulling into his parent’s driveway. He greeted everyone halfheartedly and when someone noticed he faked a yawn blamed jet lag and went upstairs to take a nap. The feelings of nostalgia hit him even harder when he entered his old room, there were pictures of the two of them everywhere, with groups of friends or alone, she was in every single one. It used to calm him that in his hectic life one thing was constant, this bedroom never changed, now; however, he was silently wishing his mother would have thrown these out.
In hindsight he should have known they wouldn’t last, when he was drafted to Buffalo Hannah stayed in Edmonton, said she wanted to finish her teaching degree and Tyler had stood behind that. But, even after he’d been called to play for the Sabres instead of the farm team and she’d long graduated and was only substitute teaching she still wouldn’t come to live in Buffalo, saying her career was important to her. He could understand that too, after all he’d left behind every comfortable thing about Edmonton young for a shot at the NHL and the Stanley Cup. He sat at his desk quietly staring at a picture, within a few minutes he was scrawling words across a page.
She shouldn’t feel this nauseous, was all she could think as she got ready for the rehearsal dinner. She didn’t know he’d be in town this weekend, it’d been a year and a half since she saw him and part of her was sure he’d come back just to ruin her wedding. But would he really be ruining it if she in a way still wanted it? She shook her head, no, he would not do that. And besides she loved Mark, he was stable, he was kind, he had a well paying job, and he stayed in Edmonton. Part of her knew that was the biggest factor because the other part of her knew as much as she loved Mark she would always love Tyler more.She brushed that thought from her mind and smoothed out her dress, she was the one that left him not the other way around, she had no right to think about the could have been’s.
She looked across the room seeing the card box sitting on the table Tyler had made for her one year as a gift. It’d been a while since she even thought of those letters, she’d left the box behind at her parents’ house when she moved out, but she found herself wondering what was left in there. She rifled though the envelopes all of them previously opened and re-read a few his hand writing a mix of messy and meticulous, each one only leaving her longing to see him again instead of moving on. She looks at the clock realizing she only has a few minutes before needing to leave to make it to the rehearsal on time and hurries out the door. Her wedding was tomorrow, not a single one of her friends even mentioned Tyler the entire dinner and all that was doing was making her feel guilty that he was on her mind, if only he hadn’t come back this weekend she’d be happy, but of course he had to mess that up too, just like he’d messed up their future together.
Of course she never told him she thought that, she couldn’t it would break his heart. It would also make it sound like his dreams didn’t matter to her, and they did, they meant as much to her as they did to Tyler and that was one of the reasons she ended it when she did, Hannah knew she could never be the supportive girlfriend or wife that he needed and she felt terrible. When they were younger stolen kisses, I love you’s, and future plans made revolved around him being drafted to play for the Oilers. When that didn’t happen Hannah felt her world collapse, they’d tried to make it work, no doubt Tyler had tried much harder than she’d ever had. She’d never tell anyone that in her heart she had decided they wouldn’t work the moment he signed with the Sabres. She leaves her own party early, feigning tired, but feeling guilty.
She wakes up early the next morning to the light scent of rain in the late summer air, she makes her way down her parents stairs, she opens the door to step out and enjoy the sun rise, her foot crunching softly on an envelope. The words “On Your Wedding Day” across the front written in his hand writing makes her breath catch and she picks it up opening it carefully, and sits on the stairs to read it.
I have a lot of questions that may never get answered and I guess that’s something I’ll have to accept. The most obvious being why, I guess that doesn’t matter anymore though does it? It’s your wedding day, and while it hurts that I won’t be able to see how beautiful you look today, it hurts even more to know that my last name isn’t the one you’ll be carrying. I hope you cry tears of joy today, and I hope your future is all you ever dreamed it to be, but I mostly wish you all the happiness I clearly couldn’t give you.
I hope you smile today, and not the smile that you do for school pictures, but a real smile, one that lights up your face and radiates the room, the smile of a person in love because you deserve to have that today and every day. I hope the only tears you cry are happy ones, and that your life together is all you dreamed it to be. I give you every well wish and blessing I can think of and I will cross my fingers for good weather. Remember that no matter what happens today it’s about you and your husband, and your happiness together, you’re happy right? I wish you both good luck and prosperity, love and future children to love teach and cherish.
However, Hannah I have questions I wish you could answer for me; how did you move on so easily? How are you fine? If our entire relationship was as real for you as it was for me then why am I the one still mourning a love gone wrong while you’re getting married? In a way I guess I don’t deserve these answers. I don’t even know if you’ll get this letter, so how can I expect answers, I guess I can’t. Hannah I’m sorry our relationship fell apart, or maybe I’m not, I don’t know, I can’t know. Even if you were to answer those questions I can’t say I would believe your answers. So maybe its better this way, you move on while I’m still broken. Leave me standing here wondering where we went wrong and what was real. Maybe we leave our relationship on a false friendship rhetorical question where I ask how you are and you say you’re fine and I say me too. I keep hoping one day I’ll wake up and this will all be a dream, and we’ll still be together and happy, but the truth is that won’t happen. Because you’ve moved on while I’m stuck in the past
Good luck Hannah, I hope you’re happy,
She felt the tear slide slowly down her cheek as she folded the letter and placed it in her lap “I’m not” she whispers tearfully to a letter that can’t hear her anyway “I’m really not fine at all”….
Song- Amnesia, 5 Seconds of Summer