"I came to say goodbye, Jared." The words wrench her gut as she pushes them past her tongue. "I've found someone." Her bottom lip trembles. "I know we made promises, but, some promises must be broken. I will always love you, but I have to move on." She places a bright crimson rose on top of the tomb, as she has done upon every visit for the past ten years. "Goodbye, Jared."
The icy October wind grazes Nina's cheeks as she walks back to her car, reminding her of the ice sculpture she has to order for her wedding next weekend. It's a bittersweet moment, sitting in her truck remembering her first love who died ten years ago, and thinking about her upcoming wedding to Brandon. They met in a support group three years ago, both having lost their spouses to heroine, both having almost lost themselves to the intoxicating life of sex, drugs and alcohol. They had supported one another for weeks before Brandon and Nina shared a moment that lead to their first kiss. Their lives were finally healing.
Nina knew Brandon truly loved her the day she confessed her worst crime. Jared and Nina had both tried to overdose together as part of a drug-induced death pact. The hospital saved Nina; Jared was dead on arrival. The news hit Brandon like a bat to the head, knocking him out of their relationship for a couple of days. Once he let the severity of the confession sink in and understood the burden Nina placed on herself, he realized he still loved her. Confessing was the most courageous thing she ever did, and he loved her more because of it.
The car rocks back and forth as the northern winds begin their descent upon the east coast, bringing Nina back to the cemetery parking lot. She turns on her car and drives onto the road. Rain begins to fall and soon she hears a loud tapping sound on the car's roof. Nina pulls over on the narrow road and waits nervously as sheets of ice cover her entire car. After another few minutes of anxiety, the hail storm stops.
With the lack of fresh air mixed with the humidity of the night, fog begins to form on the car's windows. Nina sees letters appear in the grayish-white film on her driver side window as if a finger had written it from the inside, forming the words, "You Promised."
A loud knocks on the outside of the glass grabs her attention. An officer with a flashlight signals her to open her window. She rolls it down, wiping away the foggy film on the inside.
"Are you okay?" The officer asks, with his flashlight shining in her face.
"Yes. I was just waiting for the hail storm to pass."
He looks up. "A hail storm, Ma'am?"
Nina takes a moment to scan the clear evening sky. "My windows fogged up, and I couldn't see, so I pulled over."
The officer asks Nina a few more questions before driving away. She blows out a burst of air slowly through her mouth. "That was weird." Without looking, she pulls out onto the narrow road and drives home.
After a few minutes, the loud tapping sound starts up, and fog appears on the windshield again. She pulls over and parks the car once more.
The street lamp along the road creates a dim glow through the foggy glass. Nina sees a line form on the driver's side window as if a finger glides along the surface, cleaning the moisture to form a picture or a message. Slowly, a letter takes shape, then another. Nina's heart begins to race the instant she reads the two words in the window next to her.
The hailstorm ends, and the car is eerily quiet. New words appear on the windshield.
We made a pact. You promised me.
In the car, words appear in the windshield on a fresh layer of fog.
I never break my promises.
~ * ~