After he called Janis earlier that morning to tell her that he needed to see her that afternoon, he decided to go to the beach. As he swam in the calm ocean, he thought about how he was going to break the news to her.
The line, Healing hawthorns and harrowing hesitations came to mind as he stood there now on the beach, the sun warm on his skin. It was from the novel he had recently finished reading. The protagonist, a middle-aged professor had to end a love affair with a student but was unwilling to do so because he loved her. Of course, his situation was different.
He was ending his relationship with Janis because he was in love with Shiloh. The fact that hawthorns helped in healing heartaches didn’t make what he was going to do less harrowing and that was what made him hesitant to go through with it but he had to. If only he had met Shiloh first then, he wouldn’t have gotten involved with Janis.
Sighing heavily, he walked along the beach, his toes sinking into the soft sand, the sea breeze caressing his skin. He went to a spot and sat down with his knees drawn and his arms resting on them as he gazed out at the sea. Shiloh. He couldn’t be with her until he had ended his relationship with Janis. It was as simple as that. And being with Shiloh was something he wanted very badly.
Never in all his years did he ever imagine that he would fall in love with a teenage girl but it happened. He came alive when he was with her. Meeting her made him realize how he really felt about Janis. He cared about her but he never loved her. Even if he hadn’t met Shiloh, he had a feeling that his relationship with Janis wouldn’t have lasted. She was an incredible woman but she wasn’t the one for him. Sooner or later, he would have had to acknowledge that and move on.
He sat there for a while, basking in the sunshine and until his skin and hair were dry. Then, he walked over to where his clothes were and got dressed. He slowly climbed the embankment to where his car was parked. He got in and drove off.
It was after five o’clock when he went to Janis’ place. She was waiting for him. They hugged but didn’t kiss, which raised an alarm bell and from his expression, she could tell that something was up. They went into the living-room. She invited him to sit down but he declined. “You called this morning and said that you needed to see me but you didn’t say why but I could tell that it was something important.”
“It is.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. “Janis, I don’t know how to say this,”
“Just come right out and say it, Marc.”
“You’re an incredible woman and we’ve had some really great times together but I can’t continue seeing you.”
There was a long silence. The only sound was the ticking of the wall clock. “Why?” she finally asked.
“I…care about you, Janis but, I’m not in love with you.”
“Although I had a feeling that things had changed between us I wasn’t expecting this.” She sank down onto the sofa.
“I thought that whatever it was, we could work it out.”
“Janis, the last thing I ever wanted to do was to hurt you.”
“Is there someone else?” she asked, looking up at him. She looked distraught.
“Yes,” he admitted quietly.
“Are you in love with her?”
“Are you in love with her?”
“Who is she, Marc?”
“A friend.” He couldn’t tell her that it was a senior at his high-school.
“Have you been cheating on me with her?”
“No. I’m not a cheater, Janis.”
“So, now you’re breaking up with me so that you can be with her.”
He didn’t answer. How he wished he could erase the pain and hurt on her face. The tears were running down her face now. “Janis–“
She jumped to her feet. “Is she in love with you?”
“I don’t know.”
“What if she isn’t?”
“Then, I guess I will have to forget about having any kind of future with her and move on.” Easier said than done. He hoped with all his heart that she felt the same way about him. It would kill him if she didn’t like how it was killing poor Janis now.
She impatiently brushed the tears from her cheeks. “The funny thing is, I’ve wanted to tell you that I love you for a very long time but I wanted to wait until you said it first. Well, now I know that you’re never going to say it because it would be a big, fat lie.”
“Janis, I’m so sorry–” He started towards her but she held up her hand.
“Please, I don’t want your damned pity.”
“I feel really bad about this.”
“Go and feel bad somewhere else, Marc.” She turned and stalked out of the room.
Marc followed her. She wrenched the door open. He gave her one last look before he stepped out into the hallway. The door slammed shut behind him. And that was the end of that. His relationship with Janis was over.
Source: Traditional Roots