I act like I don’t care? He acts like he doesn’t care.
I start cheating on him with his mortal enemy?
He starts cheating on me with his mortal enemy’s sister.
He hears I’m at the diner with friends? He shows up with his friends.
We’re volatile together. We weren’t always like this. It all started when everything came to a head with our fathers. Before that, if anyone would have told me I’d do everything I could to get rid of him one day, I would have laughed in their face. Who would have thought that our lives that fit so perfectly together would—almost overnight—become unrecognizable?
Silas and Charlie’s lives don’t fit together anymore. It’s too hard now. It’s taking more effort than either of us is capable of.
I don’t want him to hate me. I just don’t want him to love me anymore.
So… I’ve been acting different. It’s not that hard to act different, because I actually am different after all of this. But I’ve been letting him see it instead of hiding it. I’m mean. I didn’t know I was capable of being this mean. And I’m distant. And I’m letting him see me flirt with other guys. A few hours ago, he punched Brian’s dad when he overheard him tell another customer that I was Brian’s girlfriend. I’m not sure we’ve ever gotten in that big of a fight before. I wanted him to yell at me. I wanted him to see me for what I really am.
I wanted him to see that he can do so much better.
Instead, right before they threw him out of the diner, he took a step toward me. He bent until his mouth was at my ear and he whispered, “Why, Charlie? Why do you want me to hate you?”
My sob caught in my throat as he was pulled away from me. He held my gaze as he was escorted outside. The look in his eye—it was one I’ve never seen before. It was full of…indifference. As if he finally stopped having hope.
And based on the text I just received from him before I began this journal entry…I think he’s finally done fighting for us. His text said, I’m on my way to your house. You owe me a proper break-up.
He’s finally fed up with it all. And we are over. Really over. And I should be glad, because this was my plan all along, but instead I can’t stop crying.
Charlie has been extremely quiet as she reads. She’s not taking notes or telling me anything that might be of use to us. At one point, I saw her swipe her hand under her eye, but if it was a tear, she hid it well. It made me curious what she was reading, so I peeked over and tried to read from the journal.
It was our the night we broke up. What happened between us just a matter of a week or so ago. I want nothing more than to scoot over and read the rest of it with her, but instead, she tells Landon she has to pee.
He pulls over at a gas station about an hour from the prison. Janette remains in the car and Charlie sticks by my side as we enter the store. Or maybe it’s me who sticks by her side. I’m not sure. The desire to protect her hasn’t left me at all. If anything, I’ve become more involved. The fact that I remember everything from the last two—almost three—days has made it harder for me to forget that I’m not supposed to know her. Or love her. But all I can do is think about the kiss from this morning—when we thought we weren’t going to remember each other when it was over. The way she allowed me to kiss her and hold her until she wasn’t Charlie anymore.
It took all I had not to laugh when she pretended she knew her name. Delilah? Even without her memory, she’s still the same, stubborn Charlie. It’s amazing how a few pieces of her personality still shine through today just as they did last night. I wonder if I’m at all similar to who I was before all this started?
I wait for her until she emerges from the restroom. We walk to the refrigerated cases of drinks and I begin to reach for a water. She grabs at a Pepsi and I almost catch myself telling her that I know she prefers Coke based on something I read in one of the letters yesterday, but I’m not supposed to remember yesterday. We take our drinks to the register and set them down.
“I wonder if I even like Pepsi?” she whispers.
I laugh. “That’s why I got water. Playing it safe.”
She grabs a bag of potato chips from a display and places them on the counter for the cashier to scan. Then she grabs a bag of Cheetos. Then a bag of Funyuns. Then Doritos. She just keeps piling chips onto the counter. I’m eyeing her when she glances over at me with a shrug. “Just playing it safe,” she says.
By the time we return to the car, we’re carrying ten different bags of chips and eight different types of sodas. Janette shoots Charlie a look when she sees all the food. “Silas is really hungry,” she says to Janette.
Landon is seated behind the wheel, his knee bouncing up and down. He drums his fingers on the steering wheel and says, “Silas, you remember how to drive, right?”
I follow his gaze and see two police cars pulled over on the side of the road in front of us. We’ll have to pass them to get out, but I’m not sure why this is making Landon nervous. Charlie is no longer missing, so we have no reason to be paranoid of the police.
“Why can’t you drive?” I ask him.
He turns around to face me. “I just turned sixteen,” he says. “I only have a permit. I haven’t applied for my license yet.”
“Great,” Janette mutters.
In the grand scheme of things, driving without a license isn’t really a priority on my list of things to worry about.
“I think we have bigger issues than getting a ticket,” Charlie says, voicing my thoughts aloud. “Silas doesn’t need to drive. He’s helping me sort through all this shit.”
“Going through old love letters is hardly important,” Janette says. “If Landon gets a ticket with a permit, they’ll deny his license.”
“Don’t get pulled over, then,” I say to him. “We still have another two hours to go and a three-hour drive back. I can’t waste five hours just because you’re worried about your license.”
“Why are you two acting so weird?” Janette says. “And why are you reading old love letters?”
Charlie is staring down at the journal when she gives Janette a half-hearted response. “We’re experiencing an unusual case of amnesia and can’t remember who we are. I don’t even know who you are. Turn around and mind your own business.”