Eric sits in his bedroom alone. There is music playing. That song. That song.
A drop in the ocean.
A change in the weather.
Eric’s eyes burn with the promise of tears that he hasn’t had time to allow. He makes an effort to fill his days so he is never consumed by this hungry solitude, but his personal trainer is sick and they couldn’t find a replacement in time. ‘You can have the day off,” the gym receptionist had said, a smile in her voice.
By the grace of God, I do not rest at all.
Eric stands. He walks to the opposite wall. He walks back to the bed. He runs his fingers through his hair and closes his eyes. He drops to his knees. Absently he wishes for somewhere to be as the tears begin to fall.
I was praying that you and me might end up together.
It’s like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert.
At first his tears are silent, and then the heaving starts in his chest and he cannot stop now that he’s started. The salt water is bitter with the loss of something that was never his to lose.
Eric hears a timid sound and opens his sore eyes. A curtain of white light hangs from the doorway and Gabrielle is standing there, shrouded by the glow. They lock eyes for a moment. She sees his pain but not its cause. She goes to him. She wraps her arms around his muscular back. He shakes and cries.
But I’m holding you closer than most
‘Cause you are my heaven.
Eric’s tears dry on his skin. He catches his breath. He looks up at Gabrielle. He opens his mouth, but cannot speak. He feels weak and he hates that Gabrielle has seen him like this.
It’s too late to cry, too broken to move on.
Gabrielle’s face overflows with sympathy. She places her hand against his cheek, fingers splayed against the tear-swollen skin. Her engagement ring is cold at his temple.
Still I can’t let you be.
Most nights I hardly sleep.
‘What wrong?’ she asks. Eric’s answering smile does not reach his eyes. She bites her lip. ‘It’s okay if you can’t tell me,’ she says.
He swallows the lump in his throat. ‘How long are you here for?’ he asks.
‘Until four. I have to pick him up from work,’ she says. Her fiancé.
I don’t wanna waste the weekend.
If you don’t love me, pretend.
A few more hours, then it’s time to go.
Gabrielle’s fingers glide down his cheek and her hand finds a home in her lap, clasped with the other. He reaches for them.
‘You’re beautiful,’ he says. Her sympathetic smile does not budge. His sadness is mirrored in her eyes. They are lovely eyes. He could write novels about her eyes.
Gabrielle stands and Eric’s limp hands fall from hers to the carpet. He stands too. He places his fingers against the side of her face and takes a step toward her. He closes his eyes.
She turns away and his lips meet the empty air.
‘No,’ she whispers.
The last excuse that I’ll claim,
I was a boy who loved a woman like a little girl.
Lyrics from A Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope