Spoilers aside, her death was not the conclusion nor climax of the story.
It was the beginning of a cyclic swoop.
To him, time was never linear.
It went on and on and on and it did not stop for death.
Rather, death was a nestled cove, a merged being that flowed and ebbed and always took.
To be fair, one cannot expect others to change for you.
That does not mean that he did not want her to stay behind, tell him that she could change.
The thought that he had made her change, that he was worth that transformation was enough.
But, ultimately, he was not worth reshaping her entire being.
He did not love her for who she was, but who she could be.
She recognized this, and, while it hurt to admit it, she did what she knew how: leave.
Perhaps, if he had prevented her from leaving, she would not have died.
He knows that his logic is faulty; she was not his to keep.
Still, he cannot help but wonder how alive, albeit dissatisfied, she would have been with him.
Dissatisfaction is still preferable to death, he concludes.
Or, rather, he should have ran to her.
He should have told her that he accepted her as she was, and he would have all of her.
She was a heartbreaker by nature.
That is, assuming that someone’s persona could be characterized by such an idiomatic word.
He chose to believe that she was a heartbreaker by volition rather than impulse.
Volitions required thought: careful calculation and planning.
He believed himself to be worth deliberation.
But, it was soothing to assume he was discarded by a matter of impulse rather than by consideration.
He has forgotten how to be honest to himself.
Or, rather, he has never confronted his dishonesty in the past.
Personal deception is so much harder to perceive than public prevarication.
Reality is shaped only by what the individual deems as vital.
To him, it was vital that she loved him.
He believed it with every ounce of his being; therefore, it became true.
In school, he was taught that the “empty space” he witnessed was not empty at all.
It was populated with atoms.
Even the vast blackness of space contained a surfeit of dark matter.
It was difficult for him to see anything as empty after this epiphany.
Therefore, he could not comprehend her leaving him.
His mind simply could not comprehend empty space.
He wondered if it hurt when she died.
Was there a moment of clamor before the silence?
Did she cry out in fear or acquiescence?
His understanding of death is so parochial that he cannot begin to comprehend.
He wants to comprehend.
But, he is glad he does not.
“It’s me, not you,” she told him.
“If it isn’t me, then why are you leaving?” he wanted to ask, but he held his tongue.
“I just need to find myself. Once I do, I’ll come back.”
He wonders how many times she has said this, and if she still believes herself.
How far must she go before she is satisfied?
He wonders if she will ever be satisfied.
It was a car accident.
It was not her fault, but he wants it to be.
He wants someone to blame.
It is a subcutaneous hurt that expands through his body in a sardonic manner.
Because in the end, it was an accident, a coincidence, a concurrence.
She is just another accident in the current of life.
He had done nothing wrong.
He was an innocent party.
But, this does not quell the surge in adequacy he feels.
He was not good enough for her, but now she is dead anyhow.
He is alone.
He is dating someone new.
There is never much talking; the two of them have moved beyond childish noise.
Instead, they take comfort in each other’s silence.
Overcome by trepidation, he reaches out to assure himself that he is not alone.
He is never disappointed nor surprised.
He likes this new assurity, even if it does not hold the spark that he held long ago.
Years later, he visited the site of her death.
He stood there until rain fell and the sky turned an ominous shade of grey.
If the wound had been fresh, he assumed that he would have been screaming in agony.
Instead, he felt a quiet tiredness.
He wanted to go home.
He wanted to sleep.
She has been the recipient of enough of his attentions.
He has mourned her for too long.
He knows he should let her go, but he does not know how.
He thinks of her less and less, but the feelings never go.
He loves the part of her she left behind, and yearns for the part that went on.
He no longer considers himself asinine for these thoughts.
He wonders about an afterlife, but dismisses the idea.
It too closely resembles an insular fantasy.
Instead, he focuses on the collision, the merging of metal.
He imagines sparks, bursts of flame: white and hot and scalding.
He wonders if she found herself in that moment.
In that one moment of glory, if she closed her eyes and said, “I’m home.”
Fantasy is embedded in human nature, and life is the greatest fantasy of all.