CNF: The Confession

By Mark Bachofer | BA International Relations and Environmental Studies

“Come with me for a second,” she said, “There’s something I need to tell you.”

And my heart nearly stopped.

We weren’t a couple. I’d confirmed that much over the past year and a half, despite my hopeful intentions. Sure, it was disappointing. Rachel was incredibly beautiful, and she could make your day a thousand times better with nothing but a smile. But in the end, I realised that all I’d wanted to do was make her happy. The sad truth was that I wasn’t able to do that for her.

So I’d made my peace. We’d see each other often, and our hugs would last longer than strictly necessary, but she had found someone, and I was happy for her. Disappointed for me, but happy for her.

It was two days before the end of the semester, and I had finally gotten around to wrapping the present I had bought for her the previous year. It was a Science Fiction novel, one that I knew she’d love. Originally, I had picked it out for her when we had seemed on the verge of dating. However, we never became anything official and, worried it might seem strange, I’d backed out at the last minute.

But it was the season of Christmas, and I had already wrapped several gifts for my other friends. It made sense to finally give this present too.

The Thursday of finals week, I stuffed the gift into my backpack and headed off to campus. After the previous Friday, when I had surprised her by mentioning that I’d had a girlfriend over the past month, we had confirmed that we were nothing more than good friends, a conversation that had actually given me a sense of peace.

Sitting upstairs behind a support column, I fired off a text. “When you’re done with your final, you should come to the UC,” I wrote.

“Will do,” was the prompt response.

I spent the next couple minutes chatting with three of my other friends. Well, two of them anyways. The third sat on his phone, oblivious to the world. To be honest, I forget the topic of conversation. Suddenly, it didn’t matter.

Rachel appeared behind me, bending over my head, arms surrounding me in an embrace.

“Hi,” I said, adopting what I hoped was an amused tone. I returned the gesture, enjoying her closeness.

After a moment, we broke apart, and she greeted everyone else sitting at the table. My oblivious friend looked up, said hello, and then returned to staring at his phone.

Sensing the death of the conversation before it had truly begun, I took the opportunity to snag the present from my bag. A day’s worth of carrying it around had rumpled the wrapping paper slightly, but it was otherwise undamaged.

“This is for you,” I said, dramatically proffering the gift.

“Thank you! Should I open it now?”

“Please do.”

She tore back the paper, and a smile broke out across her face. “Oh my god. This is perfect!”

Perfect, I thought happily, mentally patting myself on the back. “I hoped that you’d like it.”

She smiled a moment more, turning the novel over to read the back. I had awkwardly risen to deliver the present, and was in the process of sitting back down when she spoke.

“Come with me for a second,” she said, “There’s something I need to tell you.”

To be completely honest, I was a bit confused, which probably says something about my insight into women. “Sure,” I said, following her to the stairs. But before we got five feet from the table, I suddenly felt her hand reach out and snag mine.

My heart began to beat a tad faster.

It was only a walk of about three hundred feet, but it felt so much longer. Finally, we reached the marble stairs, stopping to stand in the shadows at the top.

“I don’t quite know how to start this,” she said, pausing to find the words.

My heartbeat thundered in my ears.

“Basically, you are an amazing person.”

Off to a good start, I thought vaguely.

“And not being with you has been the biggest regret of my life.”

I don’t think my jaw dropped, but it could have. I honestly can’t recall. I couldn’t come up with anything to say in response, but luckily, I didn’t need to worry about that. She moved closer, embracing me tightly.

“Have an awesome trip in England,” she whispered. “I do love you, you know.”

At least that was something I could respond to. “I love you too,” I managed to whisper.

The hug lasted another moment before she broke away. She didn’t say anything, but turned to go, heading for the stairs.

I knew that I would never get a better chance than this.

“Wait,” I said, catching her arm. She turned back to me, and I pulled her close.

It was a soft kiss, a short one, but it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.

Then she was gone, moving quickly down the stairs. I turned slowly, completely dazed, and although I cannot recall the walk back to the table, I can clearly remember the enormous grin dominating my face.

I retook my seat, and faced Jane, who grinned at me, her smile was a smaller reflection of my own. She glanced at her boyfriend, Jason, then back to me. “Well?” she said expectantly.

I looked over at my other friend, who had remained on his phone, still dead to the world.

“Well,” I said, struggling to maintain a neutral expression. “I think my day just peaked.” I glanced down at my laptop, where my music application still sat open. A few keystrokes later, Don’t Stop Believin’ blared forth from my computer’s speakers.

“Yup. It doesn’t get any better than this.”



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