The small, flat package that I have in my hands is a mess of plain wrapping paper and tape. The corners of my mouth automatically lift up to form a smile. It’s obvious he wrapped it himself. The fact that he made me a gift warms my heart.
It came in mail a few days ago, with a short letter attached, instructing me not to open it before the day I had set for my return. Patience has never been my key trait, but this time I wanted to be fair to him. If he could spend months waiting for me to come back, I could wait a day or two to unwrap the damn present.
The day has come.
I tear away the wrapping and find a CD case with two simple words handwritten on it: For Cathryn.
My smile grows wider. He made me a mixtape. A soundtrack for my journey.
Without further procrastination, I put the CD into my car’s player and turn the volume up. I lean back in the driver’s seat, close my eyes and lose myself in the familiar sounds for a couple of moments. His choice of songs isn’t random. It’s linked to our history. The memories we’ve shared, starting from the day we met, flash before my eyes one by one as the music plays.
When ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay comes on, my heart skips a beat.
This is not a happy memory. It’s a reminder of the heartache I tried so hard to escape. The pain that’s still there. The pain that probably won’t go away.
All the feelings rush back to me and my first instinct is to turn the song off and push it all away, back to that safe place at the far end of my mind, where they stayed locked for months. But instead, I force myself to listen. Everything I blocked for so long–I take it all in.
A tear escapes from my eye and I let it fall. Another one follows. I’ve been holding them back for way too long. I’ve been running away for way too long.
I thought I was doing us a favour. I thought distancing myself was the only right solution. Maybe it was. Maybe we both needed some time to recover and realize we’re not better off without each other at all.
I listen to the song carefully and I know this is his way of telling me that it’s going to be okay. I’m still scared, my mind’s still full of fear and my heart’s still unsure if it remembers what to do.
But if he thinks I can be fixed, then I’ll let him try.
I take a deep breath and start the car. I’m ready to come home.