He climbed out on the fire escape and realized he was ready to have the realization. He’d been putting it off for so long that there was a part of him that started to believe that there wasn’t even a realization to be had.
But he owed to himself. And he owed it to her.
And the city was going to hold its breath however long it took.
All the neighborhood villains stopped their villaining so the neighborhood cops could sit quietly in their cars.
Fires decided to smolder and extinguish which in turn allowed the local firemen to stay asleep in their bunks and avoid sliding down poles to turn on wailing sirens.
Traffic took a break from honking and even the restless spirits pushing their shopping carts through the alleys decided to sit down and rest. Restlessly, as would be expected, but silent.
The city skyline was dark in all the right places and lights shone everywhere else and the stars, planes and satellites were especially twinkly above him.
There was a pleasant breeze.
It was time.
He sat there and acknowledged to himself that he’d never really wanted her to be happy without him.
He exhaled. His heart ached.
His head, suddenly heavy, sunk into his hands and stayed there for a long time.
He thought about her and them and laughed and sniffled.
Could he really claim to care about her if he wanted her to miss him wildly? To feel how he felt? Is that how it worked?
He then realized, for the first time since they ended their relationship (here it was, the big realization, drum roll please), that he did sincerely want her to be happy. (Can something true be felt grudgingly?) He wanted her to move on and find happiness, even if that meant her being with someone else. To relegate him to the Fond Memory Department. The dreaded FMD.
All the neighborhood villains returned to their villaining so the neighborhood cops sat up straight and responded to their radios.
Impatient fires burst forth and the local firemen slid down their poles and turned on screeching sirens.
Traffic started honking again and restless spirits resumed searching dumpsters for bottles and cans and scraps of discarded food.
The city was still dark and lights flickered and sluggish clouds hid the stars.
The background hum had returned but he had one last realization to wrestle with.
The entire time he had thought that it was their story… but it wasn’t.
It had been her story all along.
He inhaled long and leisurely.
And smiled. There was still a nice breeze after all along.