Four Short Words

Just one month ago, four short words changed her world: “Will you marry me?” Now, a half-mile walk to the Alpine County bus station was all that stood between Alissa and the biggest decision of her life.

January 2nd, 2015

“No.” A puzzled look was all Damon could muster after her shocking response. “No, Damon. I can’t marry you,” Alissa said while fighting back a guilty tear. “What? Why?” Alissa could not answer the man she had once thought she loved. Her heart was too saddened by the pain of the moment. Damon had been her everything, her plan, her future, at least, until she discovered the truth.

February 4th, 2015

The icy winter night beat against Alissa’s face, the only part of her body left uncovered. Every step simultaneously pulled her closer to and further from the dingy depot. While her legs moved Alissa closer, her mind begged her to run back to Damon. Earlier that morning, the 30-year-old man came to his former girlfriend with a plea of desperation: “Babe. You gotta listen to me. You can’t go. How could you just leave me? What did I do wrong?”

January 2nd, 2015

Alissa had planned to marry Damon. The couple had been together since a romantic boat ride on Lake Tahoe almost two years prior. Damon had wooed the young woman who was six years his junior and fresh out of college. Alissa grew up in a shaky home with an absentee father and a mother who could barely support herself, let alone two children. Damon’s steady job, attentive care, and bright future promised her everything she had ever hoped for, but here she stood with her former plan dissipated.

His confused eyes searched for answers behind her glazed stare. Alissa didn’t know how to explain to Damon that she never loved him. She didn’t know if she could convey her disappointment. She wanted to love Damon. She longed to have a man like Damon, just, not Damon. It took nearly two years, but Alissa finally snapped out of the spell that Damon’s security and stability had cast. She loved what he offered, but she had never loved him.

February 4th, 2015

A new life sat just a bus ride away. She did not know her final destination, but she knew she needed to leave, to restart. The 24-year-old paid the fare for a ride to a town in Oregon she had never heard of and took a seat on the bus. Alissa nervously checked the time on her watch. Only 18 minutes until she could be rid of Alpine County.

The white envelope sticking out of her purse caught her eye. Damon had given it to her that morning, begging her to read the letter he had written before she left him. Alissa had refused but he would not leave her house until she agreed to at least take it. She had meant to throw it away. In a rush to make sure she didn’t miss the bus, Alissa had left the letter in her bag. Now, it stared at her, no matter how hard she tried to look away. She knew nothing Damon had to say could change her mind, but curiosity began to implode from within.

Four short words started the spiral to this moment and four short words changed her life again: “I will tell them.” Damon’s four words stood on the page, boldly black and profoundly piercing. Alissa’s eyes widened upon reading the note and her hand rose to cover the gasp escaping from her mouth. She stood and ran to the front of the bus, skipped down the steps, and ran all the way to Damon’s house.

And they lived “happily” ever after.

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