The rain could be heard pitter-pattering on the roof above. Trevor couldn’t seem to get his knee to stop bouncing up and down below the tablecloth in anticipation. He didn’t need to look around him to take in the beautiful decor of the restaurant: the maroon-colored walls and twinkling, romantic lights had already been appreciated by both him and Allison when they’d come here to celebrate their 5 year anniversary together. Since then, they’d returned several times.
Not that she’d remember any of those times now, anyway...
The headaches had started shortly after Allison’s 22nd birthday. At first no one thought much of it, but they became more intense and more common. She had tried to ignore it and focus on finishing up her senior year of college, insisting to Trevor and her friends and her parents that she was fine, but Trevor had seen how many pain killers Allison took every day. And then the short-term memory losses started to occur. That’s when he had finally convinced her to go get herself checked out, and both their lives were turned upside down when the doctors broke the news of the tumor.
They battled it together, and after years of fighting and chemotherapy and remission, she was finally cancer free. But although she was alive, she wasn’t the same. Her memory had been almost completely lost. Her mother was the only person in her life who she still recognized, which left her father almost as heartbroken as Trevor had been.
The two had met when they were in the second grade and were best friends by the time they were teenagers. In high school, Trevor had finally gained the courage to officially ask her out, and they’d been dating for over 6 years before the cancer had been discovered.
Most nights, Trevor still couldn’t cope with sleeping in an empty bed. So yes, Allison was alive, but it’d come at a cost. She wasn’t his Allison anymore.
But she was alive.
The minutes felt like hours, as Trevor sat there alone at a table for two, waiting for her to arrive. Of course he’d come early. He’d spent the entire morning pacing around impatiently, waiting for night to come, and now that it had, he couldn’t stop thinking about her.
He could never stop thinking of her.
As if he could sense her presence, Trevor glanced up from the empty table and towards the front door just moments before Allison walked in. She was wearing a darker shade of lipstick than he was use to seeing on her, and was dressed in a beautiful blue sweater, complete with a loose-fitting black skirt. Her hair was let down and lazily curled at the bottom. Trevor tried to remember the last time they’d gotten so dressed up to be with one another. Then again, in her eyes, she was on a “first date.” Suddenly, he worried he was underdressed, and prayed she wouldn’t think too much of it.
When she spotted him, she smiled politely and walked over to the table.
“Hey,” Trevor said lightly, before realizing how casual it sounded. He stumbled to quickly stand up and go around to the other side of the table to pull the chair out for her.
“Oh,” Allison said in a tone that stated ‘that’s not necessary.’ “Thank you,” she said instead, giggling a little as she sat down and he pushed her chair in.
Trevor took a deep breath as he sat down across from her. The waitress, seeing the new arrival, approached and asked what she could grab for Allison to drink, to which she responded that a water would be fine. The fact that she wasn’t ordering the usual lemonade made Trevor smile, but also feel a pinch of sadness inside at the same time.
“So,” she started the conversation, “How has your Friday been so far?” Trevor took in every detail of her from her face to her posture. The left side of her hair was tucked behind her ear, her arms folded across each other resting gently on the table, a tiny smile still etched on her lips. He was stunned by her beauty. She was always so beautiful to him, whether it be with a face full of makeup or fresh out of bed with a hangover. And it felt like it'd been so long since he’d had a face-to-face conversation with her, that Trevor nearly forgot that he had to select his words with caution.
“Great, it’s been... Well, it’s been okay.” He laughed, “I think I spent most of the day too nervous about tonight to really do anything else productive.”
Allison laughed lightly, “Do I really seem that scary?” she joked back.
“No, quite the opposite,” Trevor said, again, choosing his words with care. “You actually seem so nice and welcoming that I feel like I might feel too comfortable around you and be the one who scares you off.”
She giggled a little more sincerely at that, then cocked her head to the side as if trying to study him. “You don’t seem much like the scary type to me.”
“Well, I’ll try my best to keep it that way,” Trevor fired back cheekily. Allison smirked at him for a couple seconds, then looked down at the menu. “Hungry?” she asked.
“Starving,” he replied.
She looked back up and around the room. “This place is beautiful. Have you been here before?”
Trevor’s heart sunk a bit at the question, although he knew he should have seen it coming. “A couple of times,” he said, quieter than intended.
Allison nodded like she was confirming a suspicion she’d had. “Recommend anything in particular?” she asked, looking back down and flipping to the second page on the menu.
Trevor sighed as if she’d asked him a tough question. “Well, that depends on what your in the mood for,” he teased.
Allison shrugged, “I’m not sure...” she looked back up and met his eyes, “Something new.”
Trevor looked back at her, feeling like he was staring too hard, but for the life of him couldn’t force himself to look away. Then he said slowly, “That sounds good to me, too.”
Allison smirked once more, as if acknowledging the flirting that was taking place, as the waitress returned to their table.
The light rain had turned into a harsher storm over the course of dinner. Trevor had held her left overs and insisted that she take his sweatshirt to cover her head, as she didn’t have a jacket with her. Of course she doesn’t, Trevor had thought, and somehow that had been the reason which triggered a desperate urge for him to reach out and hug her, and just hold her there in his arms forever.
He drove her home slowly, not wanting the night to end. She’d moved back in to her parents' house after her memory had gone. Trevor pretended to need her directions, despite knowing the route like the back of his hand. They arrived too soon.
Allison lingered back in the car with him after he parked outside her house, looking out the window as a lightning bolt pierced the sky.
“I had fun tonight,” she finally spoke, quietly, looking at him and smiling.
“I really, really did too,” Trevor responded, trying not to think about how much it’d hurt to watch her leave him, walk into a different building, and call it “home.”
Allison’s smile faded as her eyes flickered towards his lips, then quickly back to his gaze. They just sat there in a tense silence for a moment. Then she cleared her throat and removed his sweatshirt from around her shoulders, saying “Before I forget,” and handing it back to him. Trevor mumbled, “Right. Thanks.”
Allison looked awkwardly towards her house and then back over at him. He hated this. He knew he had to be patient and not rush things, it would only upset her or cause her to push him away. But he’d grown up with her. He absolutely hated pretending not to know anything about her, the person he knew better than he knew himself, and not being allowed to act comfortable around her because then, suddenly, after years of acting normal around one another, if he were to do that now, he'd come off as rude or ignorant. They weren't supposed to be strangers to each other, they were one another’s second half, and now he was only half of the person he used to be. She’d completed him, leaving him to feel as though he was all alone.
Trevor could practically hear the nurse’s voice in the back of his head saying, “She’s lucky to be alive,” when he’d first been broken the news that her memory would not be returning, and he felt a twinge of guilt and selfishness.
“Hey,” she broke through the silence, putting her hand on the car door handle, “Maybe we should do this again sometime.”
“Yeah, we definitely should,” Trevor said simply, knowing his voice would crack if he said anything more. He didn’t know how much longer he could put off the tears that would certainly be coming soon.
Allison smiled gently, then leaned forward and quickly pecked him on the cheek. “Goodnight Trevor,” she said, no louder than a whisper. Then she was out in the rain, running towards her front porch.
“Night Allison,” he choked out, as she walked into the house, waving cheerfully as she disappeared behind the door.
The tears were already starting to slip down his cheeks, as if mirroring the raindrops sliding down his car windows around him.
Thanks for reading!