The piece of sheet music had sat untouched for a decade, tucked away in other sheet music, left at the bottom of a box. It was poor timing, finding it now. Really poor.
Emma’s friends would say it was fate. Her mom and sister would say that she should sort through her things more often. Emma had to agree with her family on this one.
Her thirtieth birthday coming and going sparked a nesting spree of sorts. This had to be the only reason behind finding it. Starting in the front room of their apartment and working her way back, she went through everything: cleaned off bookshelves, cleaned out closets, dusted, touched up, changed out artwork. There were some things—like the pile of sheet music that now sat on her kitchen table, the piece of sheet music that she couldn’t stop staring at—she wasn’t sure she’d be able to part with.
This binder of hand-written music, work, the e-mail, and the wedding coming up—she just couldn’t escape Owen any longer. The longer time went on, the harder it was getting. Wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around? It should’ve been easier by now. But it wasn’t, and that’s why she had an e-mail drafted. Well, sort of—it was blank still, but at least it was open.
“I don’t even know what to say to you,” Emma said out loud, reading over Owen’s latest e-mail. It had landed in her mailbox a week ago with an invitation to dinner and she still hadn’t given him an answer.
She closed doors on everything in her past, always. She’d left New York, and the empty spaces in the skyline, and didn’t look back. She couldn’t—it hurt too much. Emma never spoke to ex-boyfriends after the relationship expired. But Owen wasn’t an ex. Maybe it was best to rip the Band-Aid off now, privately, instead of in front of at the engagement party in front of all of their college friends.
She typed up a quick, one line response: Dinner tonight?
Hitting send, excitement and guilt crushed her. She hadn’t even considered her boyfriend and his feelings into the equation.
ABOUT NICOLE TONE