He loved her but this was just too damn hard.
Jeremy looked down at the phone cupped in his hand that rested in his lap. It continued to glow warmly. Fog from his breath was quickly evaporating from the screen. Her voice and the static of 3,000 miles lingered on his ear.
Although their conversation had ended moments ago, he hadn’t been able to put away his cell. The weight of the whole situation made him feel heavy and immobile, as if he was made of stone. It made it hard to move. It made it hard to do anything. He just sat, looking at the small device, wondering what to do next.
He could close the phone. He could put it back into his pocket and move on with the rest of his evening. It was what he always did. The hard grip on his heart would ebb in a few more minutes and gradually things would return to normal.
He could call her back. The thought of her laughter at the unexpected repeat call made him smile. Knowing that the next call, whenever it happened, would inevitably end with a tone of tired sadness made his shoulders sag and his mouth droop. It was how they all ended. Talking was hard enough the few times they managed to squeeze one another into their busy lives. He didn’t think he wanted to endure it again, not so soon after the last.
He could stop all of this.
That knowledge rambled through his mind as it did each time he stewed over their relationship.
The choices were clear.
He could stay put and move on. It was really inevitable anyway. She couldn’t leave LA which meant she would never be coming out here. If they kept going like this, then all they would ever have would be these furtive conversations and the occasional visit when he got the time and money to head west. He could end this futile effort and bring a dose of reality to the matter. It would be cold and harsh but for the best. He could cut them both free so that they could move on with their lives without this burden. He could do it with one call.
He sighed as the other half of the perpetual argument that always started with a break up, bounded forward to provide the alternative.
He could go there. It opened up another whole world of difficulties. He would be leaving his friends, his job, and his life here for an unknown future. Who knew what it would be like out there, with her? Would it just be worse than it was now?
Now, here, everything reminding him of her. When he woke up there was that poster he had bought on his last visit that hung on the wall of his bed room. When he went to work, he drank coffee out of the travel proof mug she had sent last Christmas. When he hung out with his friends they would ask about her. All of that only compounded the other hints of her that he endured throughout his day. It didn’t cripple him or send him into depressive spirals, but it was like she was here but not.
Why not just go and get the real thing?
He shook his head as the circular argument returned back how risky such a move would be.
With a sigh he looked back down at the phone. The tiny device started at him blankly. It was dark now. Even the lights behind the key pad had dimmed. The smooth screen and shiny buttons provided no opinion on the matter.
Distilled like that it seemed so simple. And really, it was. He was just too damn chicken to make the choice.
So make one, he snapped at himself.
Fine, he snapped back.
When the answer came, he immediately knew it was right. The weight on his curved shoulders lifted and the pressure against his chest eased. He could breathe again and it felt good. Making that decision, will all its painful repercussions, felt good.
There was no reason to wait, he reasoned. This was what he needed to do.
With another glare at the quiet phone he drew in a breath and dialed her number.