“All that may be true, but I don’t…” I start, searching his much-too-blue eyes for what's supposed to be a quick second, “completely forgive you. It’s too hard to be in love with someone you don’t forgive.”
I finally take a bite of my food, ripping my eyes away from his oceans, nervous as to how he might respond. I think it tastes good, but it’s almost as if my tastebuds are also drowning.
He shakes his head, his fork lightly stirring his food around his plate. “I never said you had to love, or even forgive, me right now. I was just saying that I want to try again because I know it can work this time.”
“Why do you suddenly think that it will work now? Why wouldn’t have worked three years ago? Five years is a long time to barely talk to someone you supposedly love.”
He thinks of how to word it for a few moments. “It took me that long to forgive myself and to change enough for me to believe that I finally deserved someone like you.”
The sad thing is that I don’t know if I can trust what he’s saying. God, I’ll look so stupid if I let myself be vulnerable to him again and he turns around and betrays me.
I shake my head. “I understand, and I can appreciate that you didn’t want to hurt me any further by talking to me without being ready. But I still think that it’s a little inexcusable.”
“Do you want me to stop trying?” He asks completely genuinely, those friggin’ eyes staring me down as if I could ever say anything that might hurt him ever again.
“Well, no, I don’t want you to stop trying,” I say, feeling selfish because that makes me sound like despite everything I just argued that I still want him to flirt with me.
He chuckles a little. “So all hope isn’t completely lost.”
It’s a statement, not a question, so I don’t answer and instead look down, wondering to myself how far away from true forgiveness I am. Because I flew out here, but I don’t know if that was was out of forgiveness or longing. How will I ever know if he actually changed?
By the time we buy dinner ingredients and unpack them, it’s time for me to go get Lindsey from school and let her drive me to her friend Damian’s house. I don’t know how well this will go considering I’ve never been to Illinois in my life, but Scott assures me it’ll be fine, so I type the school’s address into my GPS and head out by myself in Scott’s car.
When Lindsey walks out, I let her get into the driver’s seat, and I move to the passenger side.
“You ready?” She asks, looking over at me with her hand on the shifter. Meanwhile my hand is clinging to the ceiling handle. She gives me a doubtful look and whines, “Miiiitch, come on, I’m getting my license in a few months, I got this.”
“Um, it’s more like five months which means you’re a pretty new driver, but thanks.”
She laughs. “You’ll be fine.”
When she starts driving, I ask, “Do you want to go get some ice cream?”
“I’ll be eating at Damian’s,” she answers, turning us out of the parking lot with more skill than I expected.
I sigh, “Live a little, you’re with Uncle Mitch, and I say ice cream before dinner.”
She shrugs but has flair in her reply. “Okay, if you’re paying. I got zero dollahs.”
“Sure,” I agree. “Ice cream on me today. Take me to where the cool kids hang out.”
Lindsey rolls her eyes and approaches the stop sign, braking a little too hard.