Was it almost summer? Was winter hanging on? It wasn't that warm for May, but Smed had to hope it would soon be full of blossoms and beauty. Yet, he realized Natalie would be away this summer. He'd listened to her talk about the trip. How it was so different than last year. It had to be different. But what if it wasn't?
"It'll be different." He told her. Perhaps for different reasons than she was thinking. He smiled with her as they went out to celebrate her victory of getting the trip to Paris. She would go to all the places she'd dreamed of.
They ate banana splits at her favorite little ice cream shop, as if they might be transported to Paris, already. It was as if this trip was a drug of some kind. He could see it on her face. Her happy thoughts floating all around her as if this was an impossible dream that came true.
"You, so deserve it." He clasped his hand over hers thinking this might be the last time he'd ever do such a thing. It filled him with sadness, but he couldn't let it show. Slowly, he felt it in his heart. What he had to do. "You're gonna love it. You will. You might want to move there."
"I wouldn't." She laughed as if that was crazy talk.
"But what if you could? What if you can't get enough of the museums and the food, even the music? What if you were meant to be there?" Smed was serious.
"What are you talking about?" She'd barely gotten to the chocolate part of her ice cream. She looked a twinge worried.
"I want you to be happy." He told her as if he knew he needed to suck up the sadness, before he let it slip entirely from his eyes and his lips. "I want us to take a break." He couldn't finish that thought. He didn't exactly want to break-up with her. "What I mean, you should have a chance. Meet new people."
"No, I couldn't." She looked upset, as she pulled away from him, staring at him as if she didn't know this Smed..
"Yes. I want.." He couldn't say it. It would sound silly to say..set you free. "You..need to see what's out there, for you. I don't want to keep you from..."
"Of course, I want to hear from you. I do. Maybe once a week, if you want. But we..we need to be just friends, right now." He tried to smile, but it wasn't easy.