Down the road

Maggie: I love you.

Antoine: …

Maggie: And down the road I’ve learned that there’s no way to love you more, to love you less. I love you as I have always loved you. From the first day when we met, to this day. I love you, Antoine. You always knew that, right?

 

A: I haven’t forgotten the night you visited me at the hospital… when I had that heart attack and my son called you because he thought I was about to die.

M: I would never forget that call. I felt my whole world collapse.

A: I heard him while he was calling you, I told him not to.

M: Why?

A: I’m not sure. I wasn’t sure that I was about to die so I thought there was no point on alarming you. But also, I considered dying, and I wasn’t sure I wanted you to watch me die anyway… I knew how it felt watching someone you love slowly go… and I didn’t wanted that for you.

 

M: So when your wife died…

A: So unfair.

M: True… Judy was amazing.

A: Honestly, she was indeed. Weren’t you jealous of her all this time?

M: Jealous? Not for a second, she had cancer, remember?

A: Don’t be mean, you know what kind of jealous I’m talking about. Not that you wanted her life but maybe…

M: Not. Maybe nothing, my love.

 

M: Remember when you had your first kid?

A: As if it were yesterday.

M: You were such a dork back in the days.

A: What you mean by “a dork”?

M: You know! Adorable but kind of dump haha

A: Kind of dump! What a thing to say!

M: Don’t sweat it, boy! All men are dorks when they are new parents.

A: I guess so… I must admit it’s one of the scariest yet most amusing parts of life.

M: Being a new parent… So many feelings, fears, dreams…

A: Now you are being a dork…

M: Ha! Is there any other way to be a parent?

 

M: Ugh, the divorce. Remember my divorce? I always wonder why I married him in the first place.

A: Because you had his kid.

M: Yes, right, that’s the logical answer but that wasn’t it. I had options. I could have chosen to be a single mother or abortion!

A: You couldn’t possibly, you were too proud of yourself to give anyone a chance to judge you.

M: Can’t deny it… I tried so hard to make it look like that was all I wanted: a family, a husband, a kid…

A: Though it wasn’t.

M: You were the only one who ever knew the truth.

A: That it was a mistake? That you, Maggie-the-perfect, messed up?

M: I didn’t even admit it to my mother. I regret that so much, you know?

A: Never ever told her?

M: Never-ever told anyone but you.

A: Woah… why? You know that humans do make mistakes, right Maggie?

M: Not me, you said it, Maggie-the-perfect… I couldn’t deal with it any other way. I couldn’t believe I had messed up my whole damn life in one night.

A: So you weren’t just lying to everyone… you were also lying to yourself.

M: Saying that it had been my intention to have that kid made me feel less stupid. I knew what everyone was thinking: poor stupid girl who felt in love with his professor and got pregnant. Such a cliché! Oh no, sir, I wasn’t going to be that stupid kiddo. No way. I had to do it. I had to affirm that I had everything under control, I was so decided to turn it all around… but how little I knew, ha… Anyway, even if I now regret it, I know it was the only thing that helped me go through it at that moment.

A: Lying?

M: Stop saying that I lied. I said that that was part of the plan to get me where I wanted and it actually did, by marrying Charles, a well known writer, a Chicago Tribune columnist, a professor of the Art Institute of Chicago, I got included in the top writing circles and God knows if without that green-card as a husband I would had made it to where I did.

A: You certainly would have, Maggie. Don’t fool yourself now, it’s been so long and there’s no wrong in admitting a past mistake.

 

M: And college; those million classes we had together… Ugh so painful.

A: Shut up, you still loved me then.

M: Of course I did, that’s why it was so painful

A: Well, I hated you, that’s why it was painful for me.

M: Why did you hate me?

A: You know well the answer. Or shall I say, the answer’s name…

 

A: Remember that Halloween we wore matching costumes and we strolled through the city the whole day long wearing them …

M: Don’t…

A: …Our trip to the cemetery, the “trick and treat” part, all the candy we stole from those kids and…

M: Don’t bring back that memory, Antoine, please!

A: …the party we crashed when the night came, what we did before it got us to jail for the first time! And I recall you were so afraid, and for the first time also I was the brave one, I stood up to the cop just as I did to your parents later that night.

M: …

A: Well, I guess you remember… Say something. You can’t deny it was so good.

M: Doesn’t it bother you to remember it was?

A: Bothers me? Why would it? Every time I think about it, I smile.

M: But it’s not a happiness smile, it’s a nostalgic smile, my dear.

A: What’s the difference? I smile because it was good.

M: Well, that’s why it bothers me so much. It was so good but so ephemeral. For so long it represented everything I would miss in the time to come… That was the day I felt alive for the first time, the day I knew what love was, what freedom felt like, while being behind that mask, not being me but a different self, I realized how it felt not to care about what others think, and what it meant having someone to trust, being sure that someone would have your back no matter what, not being afraid. I’ve never felt that way again, and that’s why I can’t bear to remember that day. It was one in a million; I’ve never had a day like that before, and I’ve never had a day like that after.

 

A: Have you realized that they day we broke up… was the day it all started?

M: …

A: When you called me at 3 am after that big, stupid fight… and you told me you loved me and that you just wanted to make it clear that it was because of all that love that you were choosing to let me go.

M: Wasn’t the Halloween adventure before our break up?

A: No. But you know that. I loved you more when we broke up.

M: You loved me more when you didn’t have me, what a shame, all men are the same.

A: Halloween was two months after our break up, we had started talking again a few weeks before…

M: I know… And I also remember I told you I wanted to do something for Halloween…

A: And I knew how much you loved Halloween

M: So instead of just suggesting a normal thing to do, scary-movies marathon, trick or treat night…

A: I planned the whole thing. Well, except for the cops part.

M: Oh! So you planned the party crashing and the pot and…

A: Before you accuse me of planning our first time too, I must assure you that was just a silver linning!

M: I don’t believe you.

A: I don’t need you to believe me, I’ve never had.

M: So back to the point, seems like I was right again.

A: What are you talking about?

M: About letting you go. You just said that was the day when it all started.

A: Oh no, if you hadn’t let me go everything would have happened anyway but more nicely.

M: You know it wouldn’t. We wouldn’t have passed from the high-school-sweethearts label.

A: So what you are saying is you were damn sure that by breaking my heart we could go past that label to what was about to unfold between us, a lifetime relationship.

M: Damn sure I was, you are right.

A: You’re wicked. And you are heartless… yet you called me that night saying you loved me.

M: I called you at 3 am that night because I knew you hated me at that moment but I wanted to make sure that you’ll love me down the road.

A: …

M: And now… that we’ve been down the road, darling… would you say you love me?

A: …

M: Do you, Antoine?

A: I hate… I hate to do this. But I guess I must admit you were right all this time… Yes, you were always right, Maggie. And I love you.

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