She climbs the steps of the extinct volcano and hurries down the path to find her special bench.
The view here overlooks Portland and she wishes he was here to share the beauty of it all.
She does this every day.
She watches the older couple who walk their dog and the young couple who still hold hands go by.
She hears a single pair of footsteps and turns with anticipation but it’s not him.
She feels her face get flush with shame as she reminds herself how silly it is to hope he’ll accidentally show up today.
That’s the only way it could happen, by accident.
Can it really be called waiting if she’s the only one who knows that she’s there?
Some days she hugs herself as the sun sets and the tears fall.
Some days she’s just numb.
She just sits fuming, mad at him for not meeting her here.
For leaving her alone.
But most of all she feels a hopeless anger at herself because she knows every day she sits here she is telling herself the pain of being alone is the cost of not feeling the pain of telling him about the bench, about the life she dreams about sharing with him, the pain of admitting she’s not ok, risking the invitation and him not showing up.
And she hates herself for being scared and for blaming him.
“Honey, I’m going to bed now.”
Shakes her from her reverie and she watches his back as he heads down the hall.
She reaches briefly for him but catches herself and the sob trying to escape her chest.
It’s not just from the regret of giving another evening to Netflix.
“He’s a good man. I know he loves me.” She reminds herself it’s just that the park was looking especially beautiful tonight for some reason.
Another opportunity lost to tell him about the bench she has set aside for them in her heart.