One Promise too Late

Robin Roberts


Disclaimer: Hey, I know they're not mine, and I promise I'll put the toys back in the box when I'm done. I go to a military college. I know how to clean my room.

One Promise too Late

My heart broke yesterday. Why doesn't matter, and why, I don't know. It hardly makes any sense to me now… but indeed, it broke. Even when I thought I hated you, and that I had moved on – I have moved on! – one sentence was enough to break my heart. Did you know that, my love? Did we ever admit what we meant to each other… or at least, did I ever tell you what you mean to me? Truly, there were – are – no words to describe what I have felt – or is it feel? Love seems so tame to describe that earth-shattering and soul-controlling emotion. Yet, I know I never said that.

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Maybe I'd have still walked away, and never looked back. I was so angry then… I wonder, now, do you forgive me? Could you? It would not make a difference, but I still must dream. They are unfortunate things, dreams, aren't they? They always give you hope, or they interfere with life just when they are too late to do any good. I have fulfilled so many of my dreams during the last years, yet something inside my soul has always felt empty. Never did I guess that it might be you.

Oh, I found other ways to fill it. There was always work, friends, and time, yet until now I'd not recognized the one fundamental and missing part of my heart. I realize that I could have turned back, had I dared to take that chance, and that any time until this time would not have been too late. What we had was something unbreakable, wasn't it? Didn't you feel it too? If you were here, I'd ask you if you miss it as much as I do. Given the chance, I'd turn back the clock and make good the foolish choices I made. It would take no decision. I miss you too much. One thought makes me picture your face. One word makes me want to weep – your name.

How foolish I was … I walked away. You turned away. Does that make it my fault, or was that the last thing we'd ever do together? My heart rents to think of never seeing you again, never speaking to you, never holding you… Why was I such a fool? Anger is nothing when compared with love. Yet I threw both away, and blamed it on you. Of course, I know you did the same; we are too alike for anything to be otherwise. Yet I still hate myself, now, for this. A lifetime is long to live without you.

Why must I dwell on what is now set in stone? My love must mean nothing to you, even if you do not love him. You cannot afford anything else, though, and like myself, you have a duty to Rome. Rome…she is so cruel, sometimes. Had she not stood in the way, would we have run, together, and found peace? Would we ever have even been so violently split apart? But no, you had to be the princess, and I, the general. Both of us had duties, and neither could fit each other. Was it fate that tore us apart, or was it fate that placed us together? Either way, I could almost hate Rome, and fate, for losing you. As I sit here, in this moment, there is nothing I would not give to have you back. I'd sacrifice my world, if only for you.

It's ironic, really, how we fell apart. Then we wanted nothing to do with each other. Perhaps you still want to never see me again; I'll admit that possibility, and I'll acknowledge that our dream might only now live in me. But that doesn't matter, really. What I remember the most was your father's disappointment. I thought he'd be glad – why not; I was only a small player in the big picture of Rome, and nowhere near being fit to be your suitor. Yet he was disappointed, and I remember him asking if there was not another way. Did he ask you that, too? Or did he only ask me? That my answer was no may forever haunt my heart.

Was there another chance, my love? Could we have healed, together? Might we then have not crushed whatever vision your father had for us? I regret disappointing him, for I do love him so much, yet I wish, so much more, that I had never lost you. I wish I never had to feel this gaping crevice in my soul that tells me I will never hold you again. I wish I were not so close to tears because I have forever and irrevocably lost you.

Some foolish philosopher might ask me if the pain was worth the love, but it always was. It always has been. Would I trade even one moment of happiness away so that I might remember less now? No. I'll always cherish the memories, even as I weep for what I will never again have. What I wouldn't give right now, to reach out, and touch your face…

Now, though, I have no chance to atone for my mistakes. I walked away once, and when you leave as I did, you can never go back. Should I accept that, since I must? I certainly can't sit here and mourn for lost love the rest of my life. Even my stubborn heart acknowledges that you have married. Yet I'm not ready to let go. Every time I close my eyes, I see your face. Every time I listen, I hear your voice calling my name. You haunt me now, love, and I burn for you.

Maybe that's why I don't fight these tears. A year later, they come, yet I could sob for the loss. Did I ever say how sorry I am? I should have, but I know I did not. Maybe in some impossible way, you understand, though, as you always understood me. I wish I could tell you how much it hurts to realize this, but you are forever lost to me now. But as I move on, Lucilla, I will dream of you. I wish you every happiness in life, and I hope you do love him. I hope I am nothing to you, and that I can never haunt you the way you haunt me. One touch was all it took, those few years ago, but I still feel its affect even now. Fare the well, my love, and forget me, if you must, to be happy.

Defying the will of fate.