Then I’ll tell you my stories: how I almost punched some stupid thief who tried to steal my wallet. How I got wasted last weekend—I’m so hung over right now. (I can hear you laughing at my foolishness). I tell you that I can’t hang out with you today. Are you mad at me? I tell you that I got promoted because I slept with my boss. But I regretted it because I think you’re hotter. Do you think I am?
I tell you I’m going to visit my dysfunctional family overseas for two months. It’s some reunion. I don’t want to go, but you encourage me. You say that I’ll learn to appreciate the people around me.
Then I’ll tell you my secrets: I’m in love, with you. I appreciate… you.
Are you in love with me?
I dare myself to know. First a kiss on the cheek, then a kiss on the lips—you flinch.
The realisation stings a little, but I’m OK.
We’re still friends?, you ask. Of course, I exclaim. I’ll always be your friend. I’ll always be there for you. I want to tell you more, show you like an innocent kid with outstretched arms that I love you ‘this much’. But it’s too foolish, almost childish, because you don’t love me.
Still we talk a lot and laugh loudly, tell each other our crazy stories, share incredible memories. Remember when we dared each other to rob that corner store when we were drunk? Or that time I pranked you when you worked as a receptionist? (You’ve since had your revenge).
Of course you’ll still order your lattes and save yourself 60c every time, because it’s not a cappuccino. You’ll still hate your haircut and wish that it grew out quicker. You’ll still have that biblical quote tattooed on your arm, but will want another on the back of your neck.
But somehow the conversation has changed, you’ve changed.
We’re still friends, I ask. Of course you’ll say. And you smile when you say that. But it’s an unconvincing smile, because your lying eyes give you away.
I argue with myself: Is it me? Did I do something wrong? Did I love you too much? I argue with you: How did I hurt you? Please, can you forgive me?
Then you leave.
But you don’t explain why, you just keep me guessing (and you know I hate guessing)
It’s unnoticeable at first, a few unanswered texts, a few unanswered calls.
So I wait.
I convince myself to be patient.
But months passed, and I knew I was kidding myself.
Quietly I cried over you, voo-dooed you, loved you, missed you and did it all over again, while you moved on. And still the unanswered questions lingered in my head.
So I blamed myself: I shouldn’t have taken you for granted. I shouldn’t have said what I did.
I wish I could edit our timeline like a movie. But even God couldn’t do that.
Slowly I locked that door, but kept the key and our memories.
Then one day I see you sitting outside at a fancy cafe, alone. You’re reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Beautiful & Damned”, smoking behind your thick black sunglasses. You’ve got a new haircut, it looks good on you.
There’s a seat opposite you; I want to sit on it, and blurt your name loudly. But the waiter comes over and you both chat. You’ve never met, but the ice has already broken.
Of course you don’t see me, and I know why. Our fleeting moment long passed.
We’re no longer friends, only strangers in passing.