"Leave and let me go. You're not meant for me, I know. Carry on, carry on. I'll stay strong." - I Will Be With You (Sarah Brightman)
Norah and Lynn. A strange relationship, but pleasant. Lynn can remember the way Norah smelled when she leaned in close to her, like a cheap bottle of brandy and an artificial perfume. Norah remembers the way Lynn smiled, the corners of her mouth turning up. The two were rather awkward at times, giving a fake laugh once or twice but always enjoying each others company. At night Norah would whisper love poems into Lynn's ear, letting each word slide softly off her lips. Lynn would shake with nervousness and happiness when she heard the tender words, wanting to let go off all her emotions and have Norah all for herself.
Sometimes though, you can't have everything you want.
Norah never wanted to fight that evening. It felt like somebody had turned the temperature up in the restaurant, and that her and Lynn were about to reach boiling point. She could only remember a few words that were used towards her. Deceitful. Manipulative. Hurtful.
"I thought you liked me."
She wanted to scream out that she did like Lynn, that she was surprised by Lynn, that she wanted nothing more than to be with Lynn. Norah did not say those words though. After the fight, she just drank another few bottles of whiskey and then she could pretend to laugh and that everything was okay. The next morning however, the desperate voice mails and text messages were being sent.
Lynn had an ever harder time after the fight. Finally, she had believed that she found someone who liked her for who she was. Bullied in junior high, no prom date in high school; it was difficult for Lynn to find a person who could accept her shyness and awkward humor. Lynn thought that Norah was special. She had her own quirks, her own cute smile, and a rebellious streak that made her exciting to be with. Lynn's cheeks flushed whenever Norah brushed her hand, and her heart fluttered when their lips touched. It all turned out to be fake however, Lynn was just a pity case who's alcoholic mother had passed away and Norah felt she needed to spend time with her just so she could give her the "heart breaking" news. Lynn listened to all the pleading voice mails, and deleted all the text messages. It was over. She was done with this.
At the blood bank, Lynn was at the twenty-second patient of the day. She went through the same routine. Reassure the patient that the needle was sterile, give an awkward smile and promise it won't hurt, take the blood and check her watch to see how much longer until lunch. Then lather, rinse, and repeat.
That day was different however. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a grungy looking girl waiting by the door next to the front desk. Lynn quickly finished the patient up with a band-aid, and went over to the door to see why the grungy girl was here.
"I don't want to see you."
"Look, I'm sorry Lynn, alright? I am very sorry."
"You hurt me. I don't need someone like you in my life."
"No, you don't. But I need you."
"Save it for someone else. I'm through."
"Just give me one more chance. Meet me at the ice cream parlor on eighth street at six o' clock. If you don't show up...Then I'll know that we're really through."
Lynn watched Norah leave in the elevator without another word. The woman at the front desk made eye contact with Lynn, curious about the conversation that had occurred. Lynn quickly put on a pair of sanitation gloves, and performed on the next patient, never letting the ice cream parlor leave her mind.
Eight o' clock. Norah didn't know why she was still at the parlor, it was clear what Lynn's message was. Still, she couldn't leave without making sure that traffic didn't keep her held up, or perhaps she had a few important errands to run before meeting up with Norah. She knew Lynn though. Lynn was never late to anything in her life. Norah picked at her nails, until she heard the door of the parlor open. A woman walked in. Light blue petticoat, dark brown hair tousled from the wind, a troubled look on her face. She sat down across from Norah, hands in her pockets and with her head looking down with saying a single word. Norah reached her hand across the table to touch the woman on the shoulder, but she just flinched back. There were a million things that Norah wanted to say, but she could never say just the right thing. She wished that she could write Lynn a song to show much she cared, or take her around the world so she could see how much she meant to her. After a few minutes of silence, Norah said everything as best she could.
"I love you."
The woman looked up at her, a look of surprise on her face. Her cheeks were flushed and she was biting her bottom lip with embarrassment.
"I love you too."
Lynn and Norah sat awkwardly for a while, both trying to figure out the next best thing to say. Lynn started to apologize but Norah just shook her head. She got up and ordered two chocolate chip waffle cones, extra chocolate chips for Lynn. Back at the table, the two ate their ice creams, giving awkward smiles and sharing a few laughs.
"Movie night at my place tomorrow, Norah?"