"Lisa... I have to go now."
There was nothing she could say to that, because the words still lingered in the air as he dashed through them to the door. It jerked open. Slammed shut. Then, as promised, he was gone. Lisa stayed on the couch for a while, slowly moving her eyes from where he'd been to where he'd disappeared. He had a habit of that. Lisa sighed, pushing herself off the couch and finding a mug from the kitchen. Boiling the kettle and spooning coffee into her mug, Lisa tried to piece together what had happened. Sure, her memory of events was clearer than Scott's, but it had still been early. Very early. The kind of early when you do things you'd normally know better than doing. Lisa banged her head against the kitchen cabinet in front of her.
When the water had boiled, she finished making her coffee, and returned to the couch. Finding her purse, she opened it and thumbed through the cards and notes, looking for something. She soon found it: an ageing and barely-faded Polaroid. Out of the square of film, the high-school ghosts of Scott and Lisa looked into the camera, laughing. In the background, an alpine forest was tucked under a veil of white, each tree adorned in a cap of snow. Lisa took the picture in both hands, staring at it desperately as though concentrated effort could reverse time and give her back the chance she knew she'd missed. Had she known it would be the only chance she ever got, she might have been braver. But she hadn't, and now he was lost.
"You can tell her the truth – that nothing ever happened between us, and nothing ever will." That was what Lisa had said, and she'd meant it, because she'd heard him in his nightmare and she knew that he belonged to someone else now. It was firm, and final, and no amount of slutty dresses or wide-eyed gazes could get him now. She had lost.
But still, she remembered (better, she suspected, than he did) when she met him. She remembered breaking down his obstinate seclusion to befriend him. She remembered falling in love with him – slowly, because with him it had to be slow. His blindly happy-go-lucky ambition and determination had won her over, even though it was never for her sake.
Her phone rang, and she shook herself out of her nostalgia to answer it.
"Hello?" From the other end of the phone, Kim Pine replied.
"Hey Lisa, sorry it's so early. Everyone's talking about having a kind of goodbye meal for you in a few days, are you up for that?"
"Oh, sure, that would be great. Wow." She said, smiling, as she pushed the photo back into her purse with her free hand. "Yeah, sure, just text me the details some time."
"Okay." There was a moment of silence, and Lisa sensed that Kim had something to ask. Something she didn't necessarily want to hear the answer to. "Did Scott stay over at yours last night?" Lisa squeezed her eyes shut. So it was public knowledge, then.
"...Yes, his roommate kicked him out or whatever, so he came here. We didn't... do anything though." Lisa tucked her legs underneath her on the couch, then sighed quietly. "Not for lack of trying on my part, I guess."
"I'm sorry, Lisa."
"Don't be. If I wasn't such a tramp, I wouldn't get myself hurt."
"You're not-" Kim began, but Lisa cut her off.
"It's fine. Really," she said, trying to sound relaxed, "the world doesn't end because Scott Pilgrim says no to a girl." Only silence came from Kim's end then, but Lisa could tell what she was trying not to say: "Yours does."
"Well still, don't think about it too much, Lisa. It's the only way to survive him." Kim had her own scars courtesy of Scott, and she understood.
"Sure. Thanks, Kim."
"No problem. I'll see you around."
"Bye." The line clicked dead. On Tuesday, it would be Lisa's turn to do the leaving, but it didn't feel that way. It felt like she would be forgotten by him, and he would be remembered by her, and so even if she left it would still be her that was abandoned. It seemed to Lisa that they had their roles set in stone: Scott kept moving like a rock in a landslide, picking things up and dropping them at random, and she was just a something like any other that had clung on for too long. If that was the way it had to be, then fine: she'd fade out of his life, and maybe then she'd be free. Maybe. Breaking the chains he'd unintentionally confined her to was worth the effort.
Lisa opened her purse again and took the familiar photo back into her hands. She gripped it at the top and, closing her eyes for a moment, tore right down the middle. Opening the door, she threw the two halves into the air, and a wind quickly whipped them away. The memories had been comforting, but it was about time they were left behind.