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At 19, Gregg was 2 months the senior of Cynthia. Having just spent her birthday with her boyfriend of 6 months, Cynthia longed for the day in which they would not have to part and could continue to spend each and every moment together in the bliss she was certain must await the couple. Although neither of the two were especially well versed in life or the complexities which it presented, they felt the zeal and courage that is oftentimes so indicative of individuals their age. The past few days had been spent as it were – magically. Gregg had prepared, organized, and facilitated a weekend away for the couple that involved camping out in a state park within the foothills of the Carolinas. Even though the scenery was of seemingly little value to the star crossed pair, they spent the time they had hiking the footpaths, enjoying each other’s company around the campfire, and generally soaking up the sylvan landscape. As such, the time passed all too quickly and the pair found itself on the way back home to the realities that had driven them to leave in the first place. Along the bumpy of ill-repaired state road that led down from the mountain side, Cynthia let out an audible sigh. Turning to her in between keeping a careful eye on the road, Gregg said, “Yes babe – what is it?” Instead of turning to look into his eyes, Cynthia stared outwards onto the valleys, and silver lined rivers that glistened in the warm glow of the setting sun. Eventually after what seemed to Gregg like far too long a time for a positive answer to the question he asked, Cynthia said, “I just – don’t know how much longer we will be able to do this”. Visibly dismayed by such a response, Gregg continued leading his old and beaten down SUV around the narrow twists and turns that led down the mountain. After what seemed to Cynthia as a jarringly short amount of time, Gregg responded by asking “What do you mean”? This seemed as unnecessarily annoying to Cynthia since it was obvious to her that Gregg knew full and well what she meant by such a loaded statement. However, rather than responding in a quick or offensive manner, Cynthia took another deep breath, remembering the perfection that the pair had experienced in the hours before, she thought better of such a snarky response. Instead, she reached for his hand in the empty seat that separated them at the moment. This time, turning from the window, she looked lovingly towards him and said – “Gregg, you know what I mean. I would love to continue this forever; but you must realize that if we are to do it, we cannot continue to live apart and will need to risk it all to be together”. Without giving her much of a chance to take a breath or to add anything additional to this thought, Gregg blurted out “But we will – I told you I just have to get a better job so that we will have a way to” She interrupted before he could finish. “When will that be? You can’t imagine how hard it is for me to continue to survive the pain and criticism that we are both getting from both sides of our friends and family.” Visibly shaken by her response, Gregg decided that the best way to formulate any further response would be to thoughtfully consider her needs as well as their own prior to answering. Along this line of thought the two passed in silence as the miles passed by beneath their tires. Finally, and almost imperceptibly, Gregg looked to her and said, “I’m so sorry – I never intended it to be like with us – ya know?” “Of course I do”
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