The summer heat boiled the atmosphere, waves rolling off the black asphalt and stealing the air from my lungs. I could feel my skin flushing under the harsh rays of sunlight, even through my jeans, but I stood still. Waiting. She said she would come, that she would be here this time. Something in her voice when she called made me believe her, but something always made me believe. Maybe I just wanted it that badly, that I grasped on to any reason I could find. After this many years I should know better, but here I am.
A hot breeze stifled everything as it came through, filling my nostrils with arid heat and making my eyes water. Sweat began to form on my upper lip, little salty beads of water that I wiped away impatiently as reality started to sink in. She wasn’t coming. There would be a call tomorrow, or the next day, or if she was particularly out of it not for weeks. There would be an excuse, there was always an excuse. Her voice would crack, maybe she’d cry, she would tell me she’s sorry. I told myself I wouldn’t forgive her this time. Not now, not for this. Of all the days I needed her to show up, today I needed her the most. This time I wouldn’t let the guilt get to me, I wouldn’t tell her what she wanted to hear. My throat tightened at the lie. I’d always forgive her. This was what we did, every year.
I chewed on my lower lip, debating how much longer I would wait before walking back to my car and driving home. Alone, again. My head had started to ache and my mouth was dry, I’d already been out here for 3 hours. Any longer would be foolish, and yet I couldn’t get my feet to move. I couldn’t bring myself to admit that she had left me waiting again, and leaving would make it real. I wandered over to a large Oak tree at the edge of the park, and eased myself down underneath its’ dappled shade. One more hour wouldn’t hurt, I could give her that.