This was not happening.
It was not possible.
Emily loved him. Finn would bet his life on it.
He just needed to talk to her. The words written in the letter clutched in his right hand were lies. They had to be.
Finn banged on the red lacquered door belonging to the white brick mansion again. And again. Silently begging Emily to open it.
The roaring in his ears was so loud he could barely think straight. Paired with the panic at not being able to find Emily, Finn feared he was losing his mind. The world had started to blur and his face felt wet. Was he crying?
He closed his eyes. Hoping to wash it all away. But the gesture didn’t work, the words written on the page blazed across his mind.
Don’t be too upset.
Upset? She made it sound like she’d broken the zipper on his favourite sweater, not shattered his heart into a million pieces.
Try to understand.
Understand? He didn’t understand any of this. Less than a week ago she’d stood on the platform of the bus station, kissed him goodbye with the passion he’d come to rely on—believe in—and promised to be waiting in the exact same spot when he returned. He’d twirled a lock of her hair around his finger, wished she could come with him, but vowed to never leave her again after this trip. They had plans. A future.
Instead, after a grueling fourteen-hour bus ride, he’d exited onto a platform devoid of Emily. At first, he’d created the excuse her family caused the delay, needing her to sort out some drama only her peacemaking skills could accomplish. He’d waited. Sat on the worn green bench, watched others reunite with their loved ones. Hugs, kisses, slaps on the back. A little boy ran to his mother, a single daisy clutched in his hands. Eventually the platform cleared, one by one, each of the passengers of the bus moving on to the places they belonged. Finn couldn’t move. The only place he ever belonged was with Emily.
On the long, dusty walk from the station into town, Finn argued she might have got the wrong day, thinking he was coming home tomorrow. Deep down he knew this was a long shot. Emily was careful, had asked him multiple times when he was coming home, confirming the bus route and time. Still, it was possible.
When he opened the door to the Waterfront Café and spotted Mary sitting at the bar, doubt leeched into his soul. She slid the piece of paper across the bar. At first he didn’t want to take the letter, the cold fear pooling inside him at the sight of it. But as he’d found out the hard way before, there’s no denying the truth, no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
So he read the words that changed his life.
If this was some sick joke that sister of hers was playing on him, then this time Finn would give her a piece of his mind. Emily asked him to ignore Mary’s attempts at breaking them up in the past. But this was going too far. However even that flimsy excuse blew away like a loose balloon on a windy day. He recognized Emily’s handwriting from the little notes she’d left at the bar in happier days.
“Please Emily,” he pleaded with the silent structure, “be here.”
The door didn’t move, didn’t open, didn’t reveal her bright grey eyes, full of hope and love.
The world gave way under his feet and he slumped down on the cold, hard stone of the patio. His elbow banged on the solid wood barring him entrance to Emily’s universe, sending sharp pangs into his shoulder. The physical pain felt good. Better than the agony of his head and his heart.
Finn tried to pull himself together, tried to stop the flow of fluid leaking from his eyes. But it was no use. Without Emily there was no reason to try to hold on.