by  Amber Brandau

The town’s streets were lined with American flags, signaling another Fourth of July was here. I walked down the old brick streets that paved the historical part of our town heading towards the main street coffee shop. I hoped Abagail would be working today. The bubbly blonde who had captured my heart.

The chime of the bell clinked as I walked in the shop, the scent of roasting coffee beans hit me. Then the scent of honeysuckles drifted my way. Abagail was here. I inhaled sharply because today was the day. I needed to confess to her how I felt before she got married to Erin. I couldn’t let my best friend, someone I thought was like a brother to me, marry the love of my life.  Not until I at least told her how I felt and let her decide if she still wanted to marry him.

She smiled warmly at me and I retuned the gesture as I made my way to the counter. I glanced over the menu to see what I wanted to order today.

“What can I get you, Max?” she asked cheerfully.
“I’m not entirely sure yet.”

I looked at her briefly before returning my gaze to the menu that was written on pine wood which hung above the counter. She nodded and leaned against it. Clink went the small metal bell above the door. Her smile grew lighting up the room.

“Erin!” She called as she waved her arm beckoning him over.

The sound of footsteps could be heard against the tile floor. I inhaled sharply I couldn’t confess how I felt. At least not with Erin right here. I sighed heavily the weight of my thoughts crashed into me. I nodded in greeting and he smiled back.

“I’ll just take a decaf coffee. Nothing fancy today.” I said quickly.

She nodded and got me my piping hot cup and turned to take Erin’s order. I watched from the small table by the window. My courage started to disappear as she laughed at something, he had whispered to her.  Her face flushed as she tucked a piece of her blonde hair behind her ear. I gulped down my nerves and griped my cup tightly to keep my hands from jittering. I was going to tell her that from the moment I had laid eyes on her I was in love. Then Erin came in and swept her away with his war stories. How he fought for our country and she just swooned for him. Of course, I wouldn’t have told her about how Erin purposely butted in after I told him I liked her. I also wouldn’t have told her the stories of him going off to war were also lies. Those were my stories I told him in letters, from blood brother to blood brother.

Erin kissed her on the cheek before he left. I got up and made my way over to the counter. I stood there and cleared my throat. She turned and smiled at me.

“Is everything okay, Max?” she asked.
“I just have something to tell you is all.”
 “What is it?”

I held onto the edge of the counter to keep my hands busy. Our eyes met and I inhaled a shaky breath. “Abagail, I love you. I just wanted to tell you that before you married Erin.”

I felt perspiration form on my palms, and I let go of the edge quickly.

She looked shocked and glanced down. Her smile now faded. Her hands trembled and she shook her head like she was in disbelief.

“Why are you telling me this?” she asked while her hands trembled.
“Because I’ve loved you since I first laid eyes on you. I’ve never felt this way before and I had to know if it was possible you felt the same way.” I stated quickly my nerves rearing its ugly head, once again.

Tears filled the corners of her eyes. I couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Another shake of her head and her mouth was covered.

“Max, I am so sorry, but I don’t feel the same way.” She looked down trying to avoid eye contact with me. Which I couldn’t blame her.

“I understand.”

I backed away from the counter not taking my eyes off of her. I felt my heart break into two, not literarily of course. I sniffed back tears that threatened to flow from my eyes. Turning quickly, I made my leave. I walked out of the coffee shop and back down the brick street. I let myself cry. Let myself be free for just a moment.

“I want her to be happy, but I can’t attend the wedding. I thought I would have been able to, but I just can’t,” I muttered aloud.

I had to let her go and be happy with him even if it hurt. Even if I knew he had lied to her. I still wanted her to be happy. That’s something that will never change. One thing that I must do though is to let go of who I thought was my best friend. If I wanted to ever recover from this, I had to do just that.

About the Author:

Amber Brandau is an Ohio based poet and writer of fiction. They are currently attending Full Sail University for their BA in Creative Writing for Entertainment. They enjoy gardening and spending time with their family.