I've been trying to burn bridges lately. There's a girl I'd been avoiding because her smile made me panic, and for several months it even worked. I was about to leave town. I had my bags packed and was eating lunch at the diner by South Station when she came by.

She'd changed. Her hair was shorter, she had different glasses, but she was the same girl. Or at least she still had the same smile. She said she heard I'd be here and thought she'd come say goodbye. I just watched. I didn't trust myself to do anything else. She sat down and ordered a coffee and some fries. And she talked.

She talked about her life, about all the little stupid things that don't really matter--the sort of things you say to a friend you don't expect to be leaving in a few hours. I ate in silence, watching her eyes. She smiled just like she always did.

I said, "You know I'm not coming back."

She nodded.

"You know you're the reason I'm leaving."

She nodded, and continued talking about other things. Then I waved the waitress over and paid the check, and my friend walked me to the bus terminal, where we waited for a while. Then the bus came, and I said goodbye and she said good luck and I got on the bus and watched from inside as she walked off.

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