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The truth is, I miss you. And I'm tired, I should not have let you go.
Arriving in Montreal was bittersweet, because I knew he was here. It was almost as if I could feel him near me. This is the closest I’ve been to him since he left.
We arrived at the hotel and immediately got ready to head to the Bell Centre. This was the first time I was on the Metro since the summer. On our first date, Max had taken me to Old Montreal. We had dinner and we did some sightseeing, it was absolutely breathtaking, and being there with him made even more incredible. He was always fascinated with Old Montreal, the buildings, the streets, everything about it, you could see it in his eyes when he talked about it. The light in his eyes was almost as bright as it is when he talked about hockey.
We took our seats, which were actually half decent, and watched the arena fill up, bit by bit. Another sold out crowd, not surprising. I watched warm -ups, and of course we ended up on the Penguins side of the ice. Then I saw him.
“Hey Jules…see him?”
I just nodded as my eyes fixated on him. No helmet, laughing, smiling, oblivious to anything going on outside of the rink. He was obnoxiously chewing on a piece of gum as he made his way around the net. That was him alright.
He was happy, he was really happy.
The game was really good. I really didn’t know who to cheer for, but I was definitely into it. I had never had the chance to see Max play because we met during the summer, maybe this sport isn’t all that bad.
The Canadiens ended up winning 5-4, in a really close match. Ally had decided to head back to the hotel, I told her I would meet her back there later. I needed to clear my head, I need to get over this.
I walked around the arena as spectators filed out bit by bit and the building got emptier. I watched as janitors started to make there away around the halls and seats, cleaning up after everyone.
As I scanned the walls I saw picture after picture of current players and players long gone, players part of a rich history. This place was phenomenal, and everything about it was beautiful, even if it was a tacky blue and red.
I found myself wandering, I didn’t even know what part of the building I was in, I probably shouldn’t even still be in here. I heard some loud chatter and realized I must have ended up in the players end. I saw a bus out the window and saw numerous Penguins players I recognized. I peeked around the corner and didn’t see him, I let out a sigh of relief and tried to bolt in the other direction when I ran into what felt like a brick wall to weak old me.
“Sorry” I said shaking my head.
“It’s okay” he replied, in a thick French accent. I know that voice, I know it as if it was my own. I looked up and saw the eyes of one Max Talbot.
“Do I know you?”
He doesn’t even recognize me.
“Julie” I simply said.
He took another hard look over my face and his expression softened and a smile spread across his face, “Wow…you look--”
“I know” I nodded.
“What are you doing here?”
“Ally…she made me come, because you were playing…she said I needed closure…”
He swallowed a lump in his throat and scratched the back of his head, “Oh…”
“Max…what we had…I have to know, did it mean anything to you?”
He let out a sigh and finally made eye contact with me, “It meant a lot to me” he said, “I adored you Julie. You were the first girl who didn’t see the hockey player, but saw Max, laughed at my corny jokes, brightened up my day just by calling me, you were literally like my best friend, with benefits…but dare I say it, the night before I left I should have told you something…”
“Okay…” my heart was already ready to burst, the tears were a second from falling.
“Julie, I fell--”
I turned around to see a tall lady, taller than me, she looked to be about 21, give or take a few years, long brown hair, and dark piercing eyes. She was beautiful.
“Annie” he said with a shy smile, “Annie, this is Julie, a good friend from back home”
Just a friend, a good friend, of course.
“Nice to meet you” she snapped.
I subtly stepped back as she stepped beside him. She whispered something in his ear and he just laughed, my heart sunk and I felt like running.
I just cleared my throat to get their attention, “I should go”
“Nice meeting you” she smiled, fake obviously, “I’ll meet you at the airport” she said turning her attention to Max. She just nodded and turned on her heel. I looked back at Max, but avoided eye contact.
“She is, once you get to know her”
“I need to go Max”
I stepped around him and felt his hand clasp onto my wrist and pull me back in front of him, “You have to know, that none of them have measured up to you, not even close”
“She’s beautiful Max, I’m not that beautiful. I chopped off my hair, dyed it, cheap black, barely any makeup, no designer clothes, converse, no heels, no money”
“Even with short, black, choppy hair, you’re still beautiful to me Jules. But your eyes…”
“What about them?” I was about to cry at this point.
“They aren’t as bright as they used to be…”
“That’s because you’ve been gone” I stated.
His hand gently let go of my wrist and he just stared at me, “I’m sorry”
“So am I” I replied, “Just go play your damn hockey, have your perfect girlfriend, and have a happy life Max. I’m sure I’ll manage without you” and with that I bolted down the hall, wiping the tears from my eyes in the process.
I found the nearest bar, probably the cheapest one in the city too, and I drank. I didn’t care what, I didn’t care how much, I just drank. Maybe the more I drank, the less it would hurt, and the more I’d forget about him, if only for a little while.