How could he leave her? He loved her. She knew it. He had told her. She had felt it. He couldn't leave her. She still loved him. How could he have just stopped loving her?
The thoughts spun around and around in her head as she walked. A rock had formed in the pit of her stomach. She hadn't realized until that day that you could get physically sick from heart break.
He just needed space.
Why? Why would he need these things now?
She knew. She really did. It was another girl. He always had another girl lined up before he left his current one. She had been the other girl in line at one time. But she was going to be enough for him. He was the one. She was the one. And then she wasn't.
She walked on. The clouds started to come in and the skies darkened. Of course it would rain. Why wouldn't it rain. Rain would be perfect. She turned a corner and...what was that? The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. From the corner of her eye she caught movement. She turned to look and...nothing.
She shoved her hands deeper in to the pockets of her hoodie and scrunched her shoulders against the chill she now felt.
Again. Movement in the shadows.
Now all of her senses were heightened. Did she hear someone in the alley? Did she see someone moving again? She saw a store ahead and ducked inside. She would wait it out and see if anyone passed. Better safe than sorry.
"May I help you?"
She turned and looked at the shop keeper.
"Oh my, you look like you've had a fright. And...so sad as well. Are you okay, dear?"
The woman's voice was so kind, so gentle it broke something apart inside her and a tear leaked out.
"I'm sorry. I just...I mean..." she took a deep breath to pull herself back together. "I was out for a walk and it felt like maybe someone was following me? So I just ducked in here for a minute. You know better..."
"...safe than sorry. Of course. Stay as long as you like. Take a look around and see if you find anything interesting. I was just going to make some tea, the storm seems to have brought a chill with it. Would you care for some?"
"I, well, I...yes, thank you. That is very kind of you."
While the shop keeper went to the back to brew a pot of tea she took the time to look around the store. There were crystals and charms and candles. Greeting cards with sayings like, "Blessing from the Goddess" all very new age. Maybe that would be her next step. She would become a woman who meditates and only sees the blessings in life and looks for things the goddess had blessed. No more men. No more unkept promises. No more broken hearts.
"Here, sit, drink this, warm up. Do you want to call someone to pick you up?"
"No, I don't think so. I am sure I was just being silly, you know? But it just felt like someone was right there."
"It's always best to trust your instincts. People have gotten out of the habit of listening to their inner voices. It's a horrible thing really. Good for you for listening. Trust yourself."
There it was again, the kindness, the tone, the break. This time she couldn't hold it together and began to cry. Before she knew what was happening she was telling this stranger all about the break up. As the shop keeper made comforting noises and passed her a box of tissues to wipe her tears the whole story came out. And how much she wished she could make him love her still.
"Well, there might be a way. But you really have to think if you want to try."
"What do you mean, there might be a way? Like keep pursuing him even though he wants out? I don't think so."
"Nothing like that, really. Just..." the shop keeper looked around and leaned in to whisper, "I have some thing that might help persuade him to remember the love he feels for you." The shop keeper reached in to her pocket and pulled out a small purple glass bottle.
"A love potion?"
The shop keeper smiled, "You just put a few drops of this in his food or his drink and you will be the center of his universe again. There will be nothing he loves more than you. Never again."
Her eyes flashed as she looked at the bottle. Did she want it? Yes, there was no question. No hesitation. In fact it was all she could do not to snatch it from the shop keeper's hands. The transaction was done swiftly and as the money exchanged hands the clouds broke and a sun beam shone through. If that wasn't a sign she didn't know what was. She tucked her bottle into her pocket and left the store filled with hope.
If she had turned around once to look back at the shop she would have seen two long shadows make their way up the street and slide through the door.
"Good work, my pets," the shop keeper was twisting the tissues left behind draining drops of tears in to vials marked Pain, Heartbreak, Sorrow and finally Desire, "she was very helpful indeed." The shop keeper strode over to a shelf and took down what looked like a cookie jar marked Fear and tossed a few biscuits toward the shadows who engulfed them completely leaving not so much as a crumb to hit the floor.