She remembered back almost a year to her moonlight walk to meet him.
he'd said to her gently. The word had seemed like a precious gift at the time, a keepsake or an inheritance. She'd tucked it away and treasured it accordingly waiting for the right time to cash it in. Waiting and waiting. That was her thing when it came to him. The word gave her an excuse to wait and do little else. The word wasn't so much a gift as a terminal virus with a long period of latency.
In her heart she thought he had meant it. But of course he hadn't. She remembered other parts of that long ago conversation word for word. He'd asked her if she loved somebody else and she'd said "I don't know if I can"
and in return he'd said "I know I can't"
. She had been pretending she'd more or less forgotten the whole episode, but she hadn't.
I know I can't.
She'd held on to that declaration as if it was a signed affidavit. And yet, it was total bullshit. She thought about the girl.. Oh yes, you can.
People said things they didn't mean all the time. Everybody else in the world seemed able to factor it in. But she didn't. Why did she believe the things other people said? Why did she cling to them so literally? Why did she think she knew people when she clearly didn't? Why did she imagined that the world didn't change when it did? Maybe because she didn't change. She believed what people said and she stayed the same.