Dylan held her as she cried, again. He didn’t care. His heart tore in his chest listening to her sob. He wanted to take her pain away, but he knew nothing would.
“I told her I wasn’t her. That I wasn’t like her. We argued the last time we talked and she said she wanted to see me happy and married. I threw her whole life back in her face, telling her I wasn’t going to be like her. I had a career, a life, and I didn’t need a man. God, if she could see me now! Snotting and crying all over a complete stranger. A man. The only thing holding me up.”
Her self-deprecating laugh made his chest ache. To know you’d never speak to your parents again and that the last thing you said was in anger… He couldn’t imagine. The thought of it made him want to call his mom and dad up and tell them how much he loved them.
First thing when we touch down, he told himself, resolving to make more of an effort with his parents. Their relationship was never a poor one, but he didn’t consider himself close to them either. Why, he didn’t know. It was as though they’d drifted apart instead of grown into friends as they aged like many of his friends and their parents. Dylan always assumed it was because he didn’t have kids, didn’t need his parents’ advice or counsel.
How wrong he was.
“You didn’t know, Tracy. There’s no way you could have known you’d never speak to them again. And I’m sure your mom knew you didn’t mean it-“
“Oh, but I did! That’s the worst part. I believed every word I said to her. I didn’t want to be her. I wanted to travel. To leave a legacy. To not have anyone to answer to. By the time my dad took the phone she was crying and said she was sorry for wanting more for me. I told her I didn’t have time for more, that I had enough in my life. My dad was furious with me. She wouldn’t tell him what I said, so I did. I told him I was like him, not her, and that I was chasing my dreams. That she just didn’t understand us. Then he said, ‘Tracy, you were your mother’s dream. She lived for you her whole life. Everything she’s ever done was to make you happy. Don’t tell her she has no dreams, or that her dreams aren’t worthwhile. Raising a family and loving a child is the most important thing a person can do. You might need to take a look at your life if you think putting down hers makes yours more important.’ Then he hung up. I couldn’t sleep that night. I guess they couldn’t either because they ran off the road between three and four am. No one found them until almost seven. They were holding hands. Gone for hours. I never got to tell them I was sorry, or that I was wrong.”
Dylan didn’t think he could listen to her anymore. The pain he’d seen in her amber eyes ripped him in two, but the sorrow he heard in her voice made him want to shield her from the world forever.
The plane jolted with their sudden landing. Dylan was so wrapped up in Tracy he didn’t even notice they were descending. He only had a few more moments with her. Then she would vanish from his life forever, go back to her empty life and he would go back to his. And he would forever wonder if he’d missed out on his one chance to have a full life.
“Come home with me,” he blurted out.
“What? You’re joking. Right?”
“No,” Dylan answered honestly. He could see it in his head, clear as day. A life with her. A future. Happiness. Love. Everything he’d ever truly wanted in his life, and he felt as though it was sitting in the chair next to him, a tear stained face, whiskey colored eyes, honey kissed waves of hair, and the softest, most perfect lips he’d ever kissed. “I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life. I know you feel it too. It’s insane, and it makes no sense, but I can’t let you go. Maybe it won’t work out, but can you honestly walk away right now without even trying? Because I can’t. I can’t let you leave knowing you’re hurting. I can’t let you leave knowing I won’t be there to hold you. I can’t let you leave knowing you could be it for me. Maybe that’s selfish of me, but I’m okay with that.”
Tracy smiled a watery grin as they pulled into the gate. “You sound like my mother. That’s something she would say. Like she brought you to me.”
Dylan nodded. “Maybe she did. Maybe this was the only way we would have met. The only way we would have both seen past the perfect lives we thought we were living to the truth of where we were headed. Maybe this is your mom telling you that she was right all along, and that you should listen to her now.”
Tracy sniffed and laughed, nodding her head in agreement. “I think maybe you’re right.” Tracy looked out the window into the sky we just soared through. “I get it, Ma,” she said with a laugh. “I get it. You were right all along. But did you really have to go through all this to prove it to me?”
Tracy shook her head and turned back to Dylan. “I agree. Let’s see where this goes.”
Dylan beamed at her, his whole life seeming brighter and more meaningful with just those few words. “There’s only one thing left to do,” he said, leaning into her. Carefully, so he didn’t hurt her lip again, he lowered his mouth over hers. She winced lightly before sinking into him, a soft sigh slipping past her lips. Dylan’s hand dove through her hair, pulling her gently against him as he angled his head to deepen their kiss. He poured everything he had into the kiss, promises for the future, healing of the past, and hope for the present.
Then his teeth clacked against hers, his seat jolting forward. Their foreheads bumped and they pulled back, both rubbing red marks.