Let Her Go



One status update leads to complete tumult in the lives of an estranged couple.

What started as a perfectly innocuous status update quickly became a sensation. Forty-seven likes. Thirteen comments. Even pats on the back and commiserations at her workplace.

None of it made Claudia feel any better. She felt as though part of her heart was missing, or was sore, or had just given out. Pretending the pain wasn’t there did nothing to ease it either. Her manager, understanding her frustration, offered to let her go home early, but Claudia decided that being around others was best and that working took her mind off things, at least for a while.

The status update that had caused all the upset?

“I wish I had never met you.”

There was no name stated, but just about everyone knew she had been happily and proudly been dating Carlos for over a year. Fewer people knew that he had recently left her to pursue a bachelor’s life on his own. What they’d had had been good, he had said, but he needed space, he needed to be free. She had watched in tears as he left, taking the duffel bag’s worth of items he had kept with her out of the door with him. And then the door had closed, leaving Claudia bitterly alone.

Thus had come the status update.

Perhaps absorbed in her profound sadness, or in her desperate loneliness, she neglected to remove Carlos as a friend. And even if he had not seen the status update himself, he would have found out through the curses and questions of their mutual friends; one of Claudia’s friends had even slapped him upon seeing him at the mall. He found the accosting annoying, but there was some realism behind it.

Indeed, his apartment felt that much more empty without her. The gaming consoles sat out of use; there was no use for them now. Claudia had been the best co-gamer he could have asked him, on his level or better in every game. The smell of the microwave dinner recalled the meals she had cooked for him on his own stove. The smell of her perfume, soft on the air; the sound of her laugh, filling the room….

But it was not only the material or physical things he missed, he thought, sitting down on the edge of the bed they had shared. There was… he could not quite name it. It was beyond his reach, just as she was beyond his reach now. Her words hurt. I wish I had never met you. But the day he had met her was one of the best memories he had, one he would never forget. He wanted them to be agreed on that.

He resolved, then, to fix what he had broken.

It was late when he reached her apartment. The light was on; he knew she was home. Her apartment opened onto steps that led directly to her door, rather than through a gate; he walked up and pressed the doorbell. Some seconds passed. He knew she was looking at him through her peephole, trying to decide whether to let him in. Finally, the door opened, just wide enough for him to see her. She was in blue pajamas; he had always liked the look of those on her.

“Claudia,” he said softly. “I’m not here to hurt you any more than I already have, or to beg your forgiveness for what happened. I’m not asking you to take me back or give me another chance. What I want was to try to build again from the ashes I left you. I refuse to be one of your regrets.”

She only stood there, one hand still on the doorknob.

“We have to start with your forgiveness. Will you forgive me, Claudia?”

The young woman still made no attempt to move. Only a slow blink indicated any feeling within her.

Carlos closed his eyes. “I may not deserve it. I know. I may not even deserve for us to be friends. But I care for you, Claudia… very much. I always will.”

Like Carlos, Claudia closed her eyes, but then opened them again, a much more tender expression in them than before. She knocked the door open wider and turned into the apartment; Carlos followed, closing the door behind them.

“I have water, lemonade, and merlot,” Claudia said, her voice softer than she would have liked it to be. “What would you like to drink?”

“Lemonade.” Carlos gave her a small smile. It was a start.

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