You were too scared, but you knew you had to face him. You owe yourself that much. It has been years since you last saw him but the effect he has on you, despite the distance and his absence, seemed to have grown stronger over time.
Maybe the mystery has been bugging you. The what ifs, the might-have-beens. Maybe it was the writer in you aching for a well-written love story. Probably it was the insatiable need for a happy ending.
It was crazy how his absence has drawn you closer to him, but his presence has always shaken you up. You feel eager to know more about him, ask if life has been kind to him all these years you were apart. There is this need in you to see him smile. You ache to look into those eyes, hoping to get a glimpse of the kind of man he has grown to be.
You recall how – it seems a lifetime ago, he was tough on you. He showed you at an awfully young age that in this life, people will hurt you, but you have to stand up for yourself. He made you realise that even then when he made you feel weak, you were strong.
The time has come for you to muster all your courage to see him. It could be closure – or it could be your doom. When you heard him call your name, you found it ironic how the one person who taught you to be strong can make you feel so weak.
As you tried to meet his gaze, you struggled to keep your knees steady. You wanted to run to his arms and hug him breathless. But you knew it wasn’t your place. So you plastered on a smile, forced a wave, and met him halfway as he walked toward you.
While you walked side by side, you felt people staring. There were voices inside your head telling you it must have been his goddamn looks. He has grown up so fine, it should be made illegal. But there was one voice that was more than hopeful, wishing people looked at you and thought you made a beautiful couple. You mentally slap yourself after that rogue thought.
The meal went by fast, and somewhat filled with pregnant pauses, but it was as comfortable as it could be. Stories were shared and though they could not make up for the years you were apart, they were all you could have. And with all your heart, you were willing to accept whatever the universe had to offer.
You knew goodbye was next. So you took a deep breath, and smiled. He looked straight at you, and offered you a warm smile, too. Then you both stood up ready to part ways, again.
He hugged you and said, ‘it was nice seeing you.’ You kissed him on the cheek and answered with a smile – ‘you, too’ when all you wanted to say was ‘I think I have always been in love with you.’
You promised yourself that soon it would be ‘I loved you,’ and just like what you did when you left him standing there, you would not look back.