Worth the Risk

She spoke cautiously in half starts and elongated “Sooo…s”, not a good prologue to a “we need to talk,” conversation. Till now our exchanges had been fluid, effortless. Suddenly, it seemed like she was a hedging a bet…one she hadn’t even placed yet.

My intuition told me she was on the fence and ready to run, not from me or us or the friendship we’d embarked on only days before. No. It was like she was running from a ghost. Nothing new I suppose. We all have parts of our pasts chasing us around. But this didn’t seem like her sin. It felt like she was holding it for someone else, deep inside some dank public storage unit where a mafia slug might stash some stolen stereos.

I checked the lock – asked the girl. There were sins all right, mostly his. An STD acquired from an unfaithful ex. Not the big one, but the kind that lingered. It forced a conversation and ultimately, a decision. I was never that brave, never that selfless, and frankly never that in love to put myself in harms way. And so I made the logical choice and watched her walk.

A wave of relief washed over me as the door snapped shut. She could have lied. She could have rolled the dice with my welfare and spared herself the awkwardness of it all. But she couldn’t. She was better than him by far. Lucky me. Only me.

I realized then that as an honest woman, she’d never again know the spontaneity of passion. There could be kisses, but only kisses. Then of course the clumsy pause, followed by doubts, insecurities, and frustrations on both sides until the inevitable conversation came.

Some would judge. Some would pity. And some like me would rage silently against being wooed by a woman his personal quirks would never let him have. My loss to be sure for someday someone would love her not despite the mistake she made in trusting a cheat, but because of it. He’d see a heart that would never leave, never lie, and never give him an ounce of doubt. That, for him, would be worth the risk.

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