"Will you catch me?" That had been their game together. Before each leap off of the monkey bars, Callie would holler those words at Jason, and he would catch her, even though they were five.
"Will you catch me?" She'd sang them as she leapt from the diving board into the pool one summer when they were ten.
"Will you catch me?" She'd whispered them the night she'd climbed out of her bedroom window, when they were seventeen. They'd tumbled into love as easily as they'd tumbled into friendship, and Callie thought that they'd always be together.
Will you catch me? The words came from another time, but Callie heard them again, as if they were now. She sat on a log amid a mass of dead leaves and stared at the road. Will you catch me? It had been a long time since she'd been back here, but nothing had changed. Their last time together was still an open wound in her heart, and Callie bit her lip to bring herself back to the present.
Jason had always answered 'yes'. He'd always been there for her. Until he wasn't. And Callie had been falling ever since.
Without Jason to anchor her, Callie had drifted so very far from who she was and who she wanted to be. She loved him, but she was determined to forget, and to move on. It had been ten years of silence then. Her own self-loathing had kept her away when she might have relented. But one day she knew that she would never recover herself as long as she stayed in Phoenix. Because she still loved him. She needed to forgive herself, and she needed to forgive Jason. There was no changing the past, but what about the future? So she wrote him a letter, her heart in each and every word. Then she came back home to wait. Will you catch me?
Callie heard the sound of the car's engine long before the car pulled into the parking lot next to where she sat, and her relief brought her tears to the surface. The door to the car opened and Callie's heart skipped a beat at the sight of Jason. She stood, head down, as he walked around the front of his car and stopped. She waited. Finally, his hand was underneath her chin, lifting her gaze to his own.
"No more, Callie," Jason's voice was firm, his eyes cold.
It was the answer she had expected, but to hear him say it opened the floodgates on her grief. She fell to her knees, the dead leaves swirling around her.
"Callie," Jason continued, his voice softer. "He doesn't even know who you are, and you're his mother. Before I forgive you for anything, you need to meet your son. Come home to us. For good this time."