She caught her eye from across the room. She was looking from her table, just for a second, and she had caught her. Her heartbeat skipped just a little, only a moment, and then returned to normal. She had been about to leave, and so finished her coffee, then picked up her keys and briskly walked out without another glance back. She didn't know what she was expecting.
She made it halfway down the sidewalk to her car.
She stopped dead. She turned around fast, whipping her hair, an indifferent look on her face. She said nothing, waiting, and noticing the way the sun formed the outline of light around the other woman's deep brown hair.
At first Dana didn't speak, trying to find words. Then –
"Do you hate me? I mean, is this what it's gonna be from now on?'
She laughed, looking down and around and then back at her former lover.
"No, Dana, I don't hate you," she said, a dry smile still on her face. "Just because I'm not groveling over you and praying to die anymore doesn't mean I hate you."
Dana's face scrunched up. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"What do you think it means? I'm done." She put her head forward slightly. "I'm done feeling sorry for myself, and wanting things to change and go back to the way they were, because they're not. It's very obvious, very clear, that they won't. They never will. And I figured that out. All those nights I spent wishing and hoping you'd come back, all the time I spent thinking about you, all the pills I took, I eventually just realized – it's not making any difference. In anything. It's changing nothing." She pointed at her. "You don't love me anymore. Don't know where it went, but it's gone. Love changes. I get it. That's a fact I have to live with, and I learned how to. Why spend all my time falling apart over someone who doesn't feel anything anymore? Why put any hope where this isn't any?" Dana tried to speak, but Alice continued. "It doesn't matter whether or not I love you, because it doesn't change anything. So you can put the pity party favors away, because I'm done dying over you. What's the point? I'm living. I know you probably like seeing someone break apart that much over you, but it's not gonna be me. And the mature, adult thing to do – is deal with it. I dealt with it. I let you go like you let me go. I'm good." There was a biting sarcasm that both recognized. "Can you deal with that?"
And she walked away. And Dana stood alone on the sidewalk, watching her go.
Later that night, Dana sat with a picture in her hand and tears in her eyes that did not fall. She looked down into the face of the blonde woman who she had pushed away, who she had destroyed everything with. She traced the contours of her face on the small, shiny piece of paper, and realized it was over. Completely, truly, over. She had done this; there was no fixing it.
She stood and walked past the garbage can, letting the picture fall in as she went.