don't let it break your heart - louis tomlinson
[no content warnings apply]
It was a warm, southern California afternoon when Daphne burned his letters. Stood in an abandoned parking lot far beyond the city limits, she hadn't seen another soul in hours. Daphne thought it'd be cathartic, an exorcism of sorts, but the ghosts of her old life pressed in, the cloying stench of regret and bitterness clogging her every pore until she was gasping for breath.
(Six months ago, she'd boarded a cross country flight lugging a suitcase full of useless winter clothes and memories she couldn't bear to leave behind. No one saw her off and no one waited to receive her. She was too drained at that point to cry about it. As the weeks passed and Daphne tried to establish something vaguely resembling her previous life, her mind kept going back to the box of letters shoved in the back of her closet. She should've left those under the bed in her old studio for the next tenant to find and wonder what went wrong.)
Daphne was tired of thinking about it. Wondering, dwelling, contemplating, ruminating. So that sunny afternoon, she grabbed a matchbook and evidence of someone who changed his mind, got in the car and drove. And drove and drove and drove. A cracked parking lot next to the wreckage of something once built seemed metaphorically fit.
(Six years ago, she’d sat in a church basement, staring at an array of mildly stale doughnuts and offensively weak coffee. He’d tentatively tapped her shoulder and passed her a note scribbled on a folded up napkin. That’s how it began. Daphne didn’t think it would ever end.) She lifted her eyes from the hypnotic flames to the endless sea of blue above. Its vastness felt oppressive. Daphne was accustomed to the faceless crowds of New York, with its towering buildings and proof of life littered on every street. Here, there was just the one road, and no sign of anyone for miles. The only proof of life was her own heartbeat. In an abandoned parking lot in southern California, watching the last five years of her life smolder in a metal bucket, Daphne was honestly, truly, finally alone.
(Six hours later, after the sun dipped well below the horizon and left her facing the ashes of what she tried so desperately to cling to, Daphne would drive down a blissfully empty road, breathe deeply in her isolation, and let the sun rise on a new day.)