We arrived at my aunt’s house in silence. The whole car ride there was very disturbing because he had nothing to say. Tyler was glued to his phone and in his own world. I didn’t interrupt him because he wouldn’t have said much to me. I was expecting things to go a little smoother but it wasn’t as I pictured.
The palm trees that stood aligned of the street made shade. I turned the car engine off and gave Tyler some time to step into a relaxed mood. He hadn’t met my aunt before but it’d been a while since he had seen my father and his wife.
“Are you ready?” I asked.
He cleared his throat, “I guess.”
“I know you’re wondering why I brought you here,” I said.
He nodded his head, “This is a waste of my time.”
“I promise you it won’t be,” I added.
“What makes you think that?” he asked.
He was trying to stress me out, “Get out the car!”
I stepped out of the car and waited for him to make an appearance. My dad’s side of the family would be filled with people that he’d love to talk to. No one ever talked or gossiped about anyone except for Patricia.
“What about the snitch?” he teased.
I laughed, “Don’t worry about her.”
He tried to hold in his laugh, “Okay. Fine, let’s go inside.”
We walked the path of circular marble stones that were guided by a bed of lilies and daisies. Before us was a mini-mansion of a powder pinkish color. There were a few palm trees that blocked the front windows and a huge birdbath in the front lawn. She was living large in a way that I had the opportunity to do the same.
“So your whole family is rich…” he assumed.
I felt like I had to sneeze, “Not everyone.”
“Your dad, aunt, and mother? Right?” he asked.
I laughed, “My mother isn’t rich and my dad is on the boarder.”
“What boarder?” he asked.
“Of being overly wealthy and teasingly wealthy,” I remarked.
When we got into the house Tyler didn’t know how to react. I felt like he was about to panic any second and just say that he wanted to go home. My aunt opened the door and greeted us with her love.
“Skyler, How are you love?” she asked.
I had to do it, “I’m great. This is Tyler Young.”
“Is that a boyfriend?” she teased.
The smile wiped off my face, “No.”
“Okay well friends,” she added.
“Did my dad get here yet?” I asked.
She pointed to the second floor, “He’s in the computer room.”
I led the way, “Let’s go say hello, Tyler.”
The moment we got to the computer room my dad was half sleep. I didn’t understand why my aunt kept calling it the computer room when it was more comfortable than that. There was a fifty-inch flat screen television mounted to the wall. A comfortable expensive couch with the matching end tables and coffee table took up most of the space. It was centered and surrounded with a few plants that looked very healthy.
The carpet was brown and blue but that was the theme, anyhow. We left my father there asleep and Patricia on the computer. My aunt looked really swell to see Tyler for the first time in forever. I talked about him so much to her but this was the disappointing part.
“Would you like to go in the backyard?” I asked.
He was the guest, “Yes.”
“I’d love to spend a few months here,” he said.
I laughed, “I don’t think so.”
“So what did you need to talk about that was so urgent?” he asked.
I grabbed the float, “Sit on here and let’s go for a smooth ride.”
The backyard was very elegant and beautiful. I loved how it looked in the evening because emphasis was placed on the water when the sunset and the moon came out. The grass looked very well groomed and the water was peaceful; no showers or storms.
“Don’t make me mad while we’re on here,” said Tyler.
I laughed, “You’re not as crazy as you’d like to be.”
“You think I won’t?” he asked.
The stress wasn’t getting to me, “I know you won’t!”
For the first time in months a I saw a smile break across his face. Maybe the way we loved each other was too aggressively. I didn’t mind because this was the last hour, last moment, last memory he’d get. It wouldn’t be a great one to remember but all things do come to an end as I remembered him saying before.
“Look, what does that cloud look like?” asked Tyler.
I repositioned my head, “An S and a T.”
“Weird isn’t it?” he asked.
The gentleness in his voice remained, “Now let’s talk business.”
“I have something a little better than business,” I said.
He kept licking his lips, “What’s that?”
“A long goodbye,” I whispered.
He stopped looking up at the clouds, “How many times have we said goodbye?”
“We’ve said it three or four times,” I said.
He turned over on his side and looked at me. I hated looking into his eyes but today I would do it. I turned on my side and faced him the whole night. I decided to spend the last evening we had together, just saying goodbye.
“I hate when you do this,” he said calmly.
I tried to talk softly, “I’m doing it for me this time.
“That’s understandable,” he said.
I ran my fingers along his arm, “I love you.”
“I love you too but why are –“ he was cut off.
“Do you hear that?” I asked.
We listened quietly to the crickets sing their symphony as a production. I didn’t feel like I wanted to cry because my heart grew from the days that were whipping me. I went through the storm alone and I came out fine. My heart was so set on the future that I didn’t want to keep looking at my past anymore.
“The crickets?” he asked.
I smiled, “Yes.”
“I know you want to hear silence tonight, but I thought you should know something,” I said.
He took a deep breath, “What is it now?”
“You see all this that my aunt has?” I started off.
He looked around, “Yeah.”
“I wanted to give you this until I noticed something,” I said.
Tyler interlocked hands with me, “You don’t have a bad heart. You have the right understanding but the wrong motives. I loved you not for what I could get, but for what I could with you. You and I had moments where we pushed each other forward, even as friends. I can’t hold onto to anything we had anymore because it’s only damaging me. It’s been months since we talked but I wanted you to have a last look. Remember, when you asked for more memories?” I asked.
His eyes were watery, “Yep.”
“This is the last one I’m giving to you. Things are happening for me, good things. I can’t let what God has for me to slip away because of us,” I said.
“But you don’t –“ I had to cut him off again.
“Listen to me! I’ll let you talk in a minute; I want your heart to be open to what I’m saying. Don’t think with your mind Tyler; use that huge heart of yours. I fell more in love with our friendship than the relationship. You had it all going for yourself until I…we messed it up. I hope you can forgive me for taking you through the motions,” I ended.
We shimmied over on the wooden float platform and hugged each other. I couldn’t feel anything because my heart was going numb.
“I can’t feel you anymore,” said Tyler.
I closed my eyes, “I know and it’s okay.”
“Is this what you really want?” he asked.
I didn’t have to think about it anymore, “I’m sure this is what I want.”
“Skyler?” whispered Tyler.
I listened with my heart, “Yes?”
“I have to apologize for everything I put you through. Telling you that you were different, and I didn’t want you around. When I said I only wanted sex and not the relationship. The times we’ve argued and I couldn’t admit my faults. Ruining the relationship that we had because I couldn’t be patient. If this is the last time I see you, I hope that you find your wings so that you can fly away. I don’t know if I’m going to miss you or not but –Thank you!” I saw that tear fall from his eye.
“You’re welcome,” I said.
He helped me paddle us back to the lawn and we both stayed quiet. I took deep breaths to refrain from crying. I never asked for much from this boy, all I needed was time. It took all this just to hear him tell me that he apologizes. I had no clue that love could feel so good but only when it’s with the right person.
Tyler stood there watching me, “Do you need help?”
“I have it but can you just do one thing for me?” I asked.
He was wiping his eyes, “Yes.”
After I pulled the homemade float back on land I brushed my hands off. God gave me enough courage and peace to walk up to Tyler and face him. I wasn’t going to hurt him even more because he wasn’t finished healing.
“Always remember that there’s beauty in letting go,” I finished.
He tried to smile, “I can do that.”