Telling their story is as complicated as their story was. Rather yet: is.
A few years prior to today, she had decided not to fear anymore and face her feelings: to her and to him. Both used to live in fear and in love. Big mistake even thinking about admitting her feelings. His fear was as strong as many years even further down the timeline than her confession day, buried so deep inside of him that his only reaction was to push her away after listening to her heart being poured out. For her, this was just misguided and wrong for she knew it could not be lack of feelings. For him, he was truly convinced he was just being honest to them.
After all they had been through and decided to keep their ways apart, they met randomly the other day on the street. It was crowded, a fruit street market was occupying almost the entire passage and everyone had to squeeze their way by one another. The street was so full of old people walking slowly, businessman and women trying to get away from all the crowd to reach their everyday same destination, children screaming and running around with lollypops and candies on their hands with parents chasing them down the sidewalk but all they could see was each other. They smiled from a few fruit stands apart and having already had eye contact more than once and seeming to be that they were always unexpectedly into each other, it was almost physically painful for both of them to be so near each other but neither would show it. And there the game began: he tried not to show her his real emotions and nervousness still out of fear. She wouldn´t either but out of self respect and pride.
She saw him quickly grab his cell phone and make two rushed calls, one that even made his right hand rub his forehead; the other showed a more tense expression, and however it seemed like an easier call. She stood there calmly observing his movements and actions just as she grabbed apples and pears. He also pictured her with a certain disdained look carefully choosing fruits and only imagined how she could be so calm. Damn, he wished once more he could be like her. Still choosing the greener apple of all, she was certain he was calling friends to ask for the cell phone to ring in 5 minutes so he would have a lame excuse to leave her – again. She shook her head as if this would take away her sudden nausea from the thought. Why should she care anyway who he was calling?
He was under the effect of such an adrenaline of seeing her that his blood was rushing too fast in his brain and he was positive the lame excuse he had just made up for his boss and girlfriend were both going to get him into a little (or big) questioning afterwards. He hung up and walked towards her.
She let a pear fall down when a hand grabbed her left shoulder and a so well known voice said “hi” in such a low volume it could almost be a whisper. “What?”, she thought. “Is he now embarrassed to greet me that he does not want other people to hear us?”. He felt an immediate sensation of being stripped down naked as she must have realised how nervous he was just by being near her that his voice didn’t even come out right. When the eyes met, all these silly thoughts from both sides just melted and gave room to sincere and beautiful smiles. A hug followed the smile. Suddenly, while hugging, both felt that the intimacy from before was just as present now and they fell at ease. The same easiness that had always been their trademark amongst themselves and their friends. She felt her cheeks burn and he felt his eyes glow. And she was such a good “eye reader”!
They decided to take a walk after the small talk of how each other had been and a quick update on jobs, neighbourhoods each lived in, smiles and a few silent minutes that were neither strange nor comfortable. It was their lunch breaks and they knew time would fly by so they had to enjoy it to the fullest. He had it all set up in his mind to spend the rest of the afternoon with her. She knew he would be leaving soon so decided to just go with the normal routine. In her past she already cancelled or rescheduled her agenda way too many times for him. Today she wouldn’t; she had a life and it was not a simple running into each other that would change any of that.
He suggested lunch (very appropriate considering the break!) and the restaurant by the lake. It wasn’t a perfect day as the sky was cloudy, but they could still sit outside and, hey, it was the perfect day! He was a bit shocked when the waiter came to bring the menus and she rapidly ordered a glass of white wine. “Whichever one, as long as it comes quick”. She blushed explaining she was thirsty and that the reencounter deserved a toast. He agreed, smiled and they both raised their glasses staring into each others’ eyes. None said to what the toast was for. Nor was it necessary: they knew. After the first sip, he smiled and said the surprise of seeing her and “man, how beautiful she was!” was amazing. Her turn to agree and smile. Her lack of suitable words was not something very usual for her; she had great communication abilities, even her job was based on that being a reporter and writer on the weekends.
The lunch turned out to be just as light as wished by both. The synchronicity of how they began the same sentences made them laugh and flirt. Her clipping her hair up leaving the neck uncovered made him sit up straight and clear his throat. She did not notice any of that. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe she felt he was just the same as before and was paying more attention to the hot waitress of the other tables than to her. Still lunch was the best event of many days for both.
It was after the third glass that their names, situation, past and feelings made themselves to the table. She froze. He pretended to be ok. She decided to listen more than to speak; both driven by curiosity of what he had to say and complete numbness of her tongue. She remembers him saying how the days with her were probably the best ones of his life. She was surprised by how her tongue had been mysteriously stolen from her. Nothing would come out. This time he froze. Had he gone too far? Had he completely misread her and misunderstood the situation? That was when the waiter came with the bill and the moment was gone. She did not know how to recover the subject having no tongue to speak with and he had no guts left, they had been swallowed by fear again.
He accompanied her to her office, gave her a half-smile, a half-hug, felt like a fool and wished her a good day. She could not have been hit harder. She felt like a ninja had sprung out of nowhere and hit her chest with both legs. Was that it? Were they back to the past all over again? Had neither yet learnt how to deal with one another? Did he not know that all he had to do was kiss her and not let her go? Did she not know that all he needed was reassurance and tenderness? All these thoughts rushed through her brain so fast she felt dizzy. She was still the same stupid girl and he was still the same coldhearted guy.
She half-smiled back and started walking towards the elevators that would not approach her in spite of her large steps towards them. When reaching the elevator door, she gathered all her energy for a final glance desperately looking for a final sign that she was wrong and that he did care for her. He was nowhere to be seen. All her strength was in her eyes now: they moved rapid and vigorously while her legs fought to keep her standing. The elevator walls made her feel a little safer: should she break down, it would be easier to glue her pieces back together for they would not be lost.
Then she saw him amidst other people with his back to her. And there she understood. She was looking both for him and for closure. He would look at everyone passing by except for or at her. She understood. That was that. That was his way of telling her it was really over.
He stood there not believing two things. One that she had actually walked into the building and away from him and two, that he was still standing there, not trying to hold her down. But then again it might have been for the best, for she was the one to turn away. He felt certain he had gone over the limits and she was over him.