This is part of the Johnny and June Fragment I have been working on. If you want to read what has come before try:
Johnny considered his options, it was late and he was tired, much too tired to make serious decisions. Part of the joy of maturing had taught him that making hard decisions when angry or over tired was a mistake. It was like playing with fire and he didn’t like getting burned.
Sweat pored down across the brow and he grimaced as it dripped into his eyes. It was fitting how the sweat blurred his vision. He couldn’t see clearly and he wasn’t sure if he was thinking clearly. And the matter at hand wasn’t something that he could just laugh off, though he wished it were otherwise.
The funny thing about relationships is that sometimes the most passionate love affair could be so complex. There are layers upon layers to be considered. When you are dealing with the person you love most in the world you can’t help but find that your emotions play with you. Fear, anger, happiness, insecurity and more swirl through your mind. Navigating deeper waters with a broken compass is tricky.
Old Johnny had been down this road a time or two. And it was his past experience that empowered and paralyzed him. The beauty of allowing himself to love a woman so completely, to just accept her without reservation had helped to heal a part of him that he was unaware had been broken.
The past was finally behind him. The scars were just funny old stories to be told or just forgotten. They weren’t going to hold him back any longer, at least that was what he had thought.
It had taken some doing to get to this point. It had taken some real effort to let go and give in to his feelings. And then life had done what he had feared it might, it had thrown him into a situation that frightened him in a different way than admitting that he was in love.
June had told him that she was having second thoughts. Oh lord, it couldn’t be happening again, could it. Just when he let his guard down he was socked in the mouth and kicked in the belly. He remembered this feeling all too well. The metallic taste in his mouth and the strange tingling sensation in his fingers.
He took a deep breath and did another set of curls. That college kid who had been so broken hearted had latched onto Bogart’s role as Rick in Casablanca. It wasn’t entirely novel or unique, but he loved how Rick had taken ownership of his heartbreak and made it clear that it wouldn’t define his life.
The reminiscing made him smile. That kid had been so naive and so innocent but had thought of himself as being so sophisticated. The mirror in front of Johnny made it clear that though it might feel like college was yesterday more than a couple of years had passed by. A little less hair and a few more lines on his face and so much life experience.
So what if the college kid could go for weeks upon end without sleep, he didn’t know dick. That was the beauty about life experience, not to mention the endorphins released by a good workout.
It was true, June’s head wasn’t screwed on as tight as he’d like it to be, but it didn’t have to be bad news.
He didn’t have to be like Rick. He didn’t have to play the noble hero who sends his great love off to help save the world. The world wasn’t at war and June wasn’t married to the guy who was going to help inspire Europe to fight the Nazis. In fact, Johnny was feeling so good he would have punched Victor Lazlo in the mouth and thrown his European ass out into the cold snow.
He might suffer from moments of uncertainty and angst, but old Johnny was clear on a few things. He loved June and he would do what he had to do to show her. He wasn’t going to just roll over and give in because it was hard. He wasn’t willing to let her just walk.
This was nothing more than the challenge that all great love stories face. If it came too easy they wouldn’t really appreciate each other, now would they.
In that moment his plan became clear. He knew what he wanted and he was ready to make it happen. There wasn’t a road map or guide to rely upon. But one of the many things that Johnny and June loved about their relationship was that it was so different from those of their past. He had always told her to hold onto his hand and he’d take care of her. This was no different.
All he had to do was convince her.