Tap. Tap. Tap. She doesn’t realize it, but her fingers tap on the railing impatiently. Her eyes were fixated on the train’s timetable but she wasn’t really looking. I knew because I’ve seen that so many times before. That faraway look. I caught myself smiling when I remembered one of the times I saw that look which ultimately led me to recognize it.
“Hey. Heyyy? Are you even listening?”
“Oh what? Oh my god I’m so sorry. I got a bit distracted,” she smiled goofily at Hazel.
Hazel rolled her eyes. “By what? Some cute guy?” Hazel teased. She laughed. I glanced at her. Her cheeks were a bit red. Wow, I thought to myself then. This girl gets embarassed quickly. I remembered that I thought that that was adorable. I even smiled to myself wondering worriedly for a moment if anyone caught me being very stalker-ish.
I had sat in front of her for half a year and we barely exchanged any conversations that does not involve class or assignments. She wasn’t the type to strike up random conversations with people she wasn’t close with and I was.. Well. I was even more less likely to do so.
Huh. If she just turned a bit to the right, look straight, she would see me. I wondered what I should do then. Wave? Smile? Or.. It just, has been so long. It would be awkward, right? I mean, do we act like we’re friends? Do I go over there right now and greet her? Maybe it's better if she didn't see me..
I ran the possibilities in my head. Ugh, I cringed internally at how socially awkward I am. I bet any other sane person would just go up to her right now and say, “Hey, it’s been so long! How have you been?” Right? But, no. Here I am, debating with myself like a maniac.
A flutter distracted me. The wind almost blew a teenager's scarf away. Her boyfriend laughed at her while she tug at it, embarrassed and made a face at him. He chuckled and helped her fix her scarf. So young to be in love. I turned again towards her. I felt my heart stop. The wind blew through her hair. And the sunlight hit her just right. It was like 7 years had not gone by.
She turned to the right. Her train was three minutes behind schedule. I studied her face. She’s lost a bit of that roundness of her cheeks. She’s grown a bit since I last saw her. Her style had definitely changed but perhaps - from her bag - she had not altogether lost her taste for rugged things. She was wearing a bit of makeup - she never used to wear makeup. Lipstick, mascara and all that. And her eyes.. Her beautiful brown eyes. They were just as I remembered. She reached into her bag and pulled out her phone. A small smile slowly set on her face as she read and typed something on her phone. I've missed that smile..
At that moment, I wanted desperately for her to notice me. Look at me. Please. I wanted to wave at her. I should, right? Yeah, I should! I started to raise my hand... And suddenly, she disappeared.
I watched helplessly as she made her way to one of the seats in the train.
Lost from my view.
Lost from me. Once more.
I felt my heart break. As if it wasn't already broken for the past 7 years. Goodbye again, love.
She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, sighing and took her seat in the train. All she wanted was to get back home, curl up in bed, and sleep to forget today. Her phone buzzed. Tessa.
“Did he see you? I’m here if you need me. I’ll bring dinner?”
It’s okay, she replied. I’m fine. He didn’t see me, I think.
“You’ll find someone better than him babe. You just need to be open to that possibility. You’ll be okay, okay?” Came the reply. She smiled wryly. Her best friend always knew the right things to say. But today, it didn’t make her feel better. Today, she realized that the reason she had been alone for so long was because it wasn't possible for her to love anyone but him.
She recognized him the moment she saw him. She felt her heart stop and break from longing at the same time. He was distracted by some girl and her boyfriend having trouble with her scarf from the wind. He looked good. Better even. Better than the last time they saw each other 7 years ago, with tears running down both their cheeks, saying goodbye. Giving up on each other. She wished she was braver and just went up to him and said,
“Hi. It’s been a while. But I’ve missed you. We screwed up those years ago didn’t we? Maybe we could get it right this time.”
But she didn’t. That didn’t happen. It will never happen.
He’s probably with someone so much better now, she reasoned with herself.
Happier too, most probably. Which she couldn’t have made him then.
Even if he was the only one she could ever love. Then. And now.
So she took a deep breath, and looked out the window. Goodbye again, love.
Author Notes: My idea was to capture what could have happened if one of them had just been braver.