by Emily Sullivan

Andrea shifted the gear into park on the side of the dim lit street. She reached for the volume dial and turned it to zero. Her thumb pressed into the red release button and she coiled her fingers around the seatbelt as it slid back to the top. She pulled her leg into her chest and ran her fingers over the threads of her beaded anklet. “Tony, we can’t keep pushing this off anymore. I leave in two weeks,” she said.

He unbuckled his seatbelt and stared at the ground as he fiddled with his fingers in his lap. “I know,” he replied.

“Have you thought about what you want? What’s best for us?”

“I don’t know An, I don’t want to think about it.” Tony slouched in his seat and swung his foot onto the dash. His elbow sat on edge of the window and his head rested on his hand. “You can’t plan everything,” he said as he watched himself in the side view mirror. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. Why can’t you ever just let things flow?”

“Let it flow? This is a big change, Tony. I’m moving to Chicago in two weeks and you’re staying here, in Boston. How can I let it flow?”

“Hey, I’m not the one who’s choosing to leave.”

“I want you to come with me. I want to build a life with you, just not here.”

Tony slid his foot off the dash and sat up straight. His neck cocked back on the head rest and his fingers pressed on the sides of his neck. “Well, my life is here. I can’t just leave my job, my family, my friends.”

“I don’t belong in Boston. I don’t have a future here.”

“And so, what does that mean for our future then, An?” he turned his head and waited for her response.

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”

“You’re leaving for art school, that’s your purpose. I’d be leaving just to follow you.”

Just to follow me? That’s all you’d see it as?” she continued to rotate the beads on her anklet and twist the elastic around her finger.

“Let things flow. We can make this work.”

“Are you even hearing yourself? You have no plan for how it can work. We want completely different lifestyles.”

“What do you mean?”

Andrea coiled her fingers around her ankle and her eyes rose to meet Tony’s. “My career will never be a steady nine to five. I don’t know what my future holds, and I don’t want to know. I want to live an ambiguous life and travel as much as I can. You’re content here with your office job, with weekly family dinners, hanging out with the same people from high school. That’s what you want, forever. You never want to leave or do anything outside of your comfort zone.”

Tony turned away and stroked his hair with the tips of his fingers. He glared out the window with no expression. “All I know is that I’m in love with you. I want to see where this can go.”

“I can’t just let this go, Tony. Not when we both know that our futures don’t align, and neither of us can compromise for the other. I’m sorry. I just can’t.” Andrea sat forward and wrapped her hand around his cheek forcing him to look at her. She grinned as she looked into his eyes. A single tear rolled down her face. “I love you, but love isn’t the only thing that can hold us together. Love doesn’t mean that we’re happy or that we’re meant for each other.”

Tony leaned in and kissed Andrea on the cheek. He tucked the strings of hair dangling in her face behind her ear and traced his thumb along her jawline wiping her tear away. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” He reached for the door handle and stepped out of the car.

About the Author:

Emily Sullivan is a writer from Buffalo, NY. She is currently enrolled at Full Sail University to complete her BFA in Creative Writing. You can contact Emily on Twitter @emgsullivan.