"I can't."

Three years ago, today, we were swinging in the hammock in our back yard. There was a diamond on my finger, and a blanket around my shoulders. I had my head on your chest.

That was back when you still had a heartbeat. It was pulsing softly in my ear.

The epitome of a balmy summer.

It’s nights like those that make you feel invincible. You’re never going to die, not when you’re out enjoying a night full of stars. Not when you’re almost married. Not when everything is utterly perfect.

Well, that night, you said to me, “Reality is what’s happening now.”

You were always so philosophical. You said to me, “Maybe you’re just dreaming and in five more minutes, you’re going to wake up.”

I knew what was coming.

You said to me, “Is there anything you want to tell me?”

I lift my ear off your beating heart and finger the ring. I never told you this, but you had this picture of me that I could never fit. I could never be perfect for you. And it was killing me.

I put the ring in your hand.

“I can’t,” I whispered.

View this story's 7 comments.