The Second To Last Time I Ever Saw You

By Carly Powell


She fell desperately into the worn leather still stiff with anxiety and sweating from the nerves that had made her hands begin to tremble. Tight, they gripped the wheel with white knuckles. Her warm brown eyes looked uncharacteristically dull; they were being overpowered by the dark, deep bags that had pooled under them from the sleepless hours of the night before. In ten months, she had seen too many changes to list in her head. Still, as she looked into the rear view mirror, she was confident that the difference was a good one.

He had wasted her potential and held her tight, warping her into something weak and fragile in need of his attention. In a moment of incredible will power, she released the grateful steering wheel and took a breath. Had she been breathing this whole time? The action felt relieving and new. Every movement felt rushed, though the time hadn’t seemed to change in half an hour. She had been staring at the clock on her dashboard, but an irrational distrust led her to consult her watch.

As she traced over each number with her eyes, raindrops splashed themselves across the windshield of her car as if warning her, and she couldn’t help but feel like she was being watched. Turning her head to the left, her fears were realized when her glance was met with a gaze she hoped he hadn’t been shooting at her for long.

A weak raise of her shaking hand was exchanged for an even meeker smile that proved to be just as nervous. Every symptom of her sickness left her body and all that was left was the joy she had missed in the coldness of winter. The promises she had made to herself in preparation for this moment were quickly broken, and she smiled back.