You came back. With your silent greeting, like the voice of a sullen victim, I whirled around and found you there. Back in the hallway, inches away from the doorway that separates us…almost never so close to the distance you forged between us.
My throat had gone dry, my head spinning to the endless thoughts that make perfectly no sense but I surely understand the moment I saw you.
I turned my gaze back to what I was concentrating on, thinking you were a ghost I see every time I missed you. But the commotion that’s running past through me guaranteed you were no vision this moment.
“Jess, he’s here!”
One of my classmates yanked my arm away from the canvass, paint dripping at the end of the brush my fingers were holding, creating a mess on the floor.
I pulled away and placed the brush on top of the table and sighed. There was no way I’m gonna get it done. And there was no way I could get away from this. From you.
My classmates passed through the door while shouting their joy for your appearance. I took my time thinking this time you’ll wait. Like I have always waited for you…in every sense of the word. As the classroom emptied, so was my heart–dropping…anticipating…and I never felt scared how this would affect me now.
I took time putting away my things, wishing you’ll disappear, but as soon as I stepped out of the room I found you there. Eyes met. And my chest heaved.
“Why are you here?”
I asked in almost whisper, my things planted on my chest like the way a librarian holds her books.
“We’re in for the night and I thought I’d see you.”
And before I could reply a word you asked, “Can we have snacks on Bonti’s?”
And before I could protest, we were already on the way to our most favorite snack joint.
I focused on the fries before me, trying my best to tune you out. Even if I had wished for this to occur again a thousand times while you’re away, I just want this to be over…to be away from you again.
“It’s the same. Gale wants me to set up a gallery this early and Gramps was highly elated by it.”
“But you’re not.”
You said, not asked. Which irritates me beyond measure because after all that you’ve put me through, you still get me.
“It wasn’t much like that.” It was to contradict you, the stubborn Jess was surfacing…
“So, what is it?” And as always, you gave me the time to process it in, to think it through, to put the stubbornness away.
But the rebel in me revolted.
“Why are you here anyway?”
Voice rising, fist curling…I couldn’t enjoy my fries anymore. The more I see you there across the table, the more I want you vanish from my sight. The contradiction to what I had been hoping for a while.
“I told you, I just came by to see you…”
Wow, ashamed huh?
“You shouldn’t even be here.”
“Jess, I’m sorry…”
There you said it! And I couldn’t help but look you in the eyes if you were sincere enough.
And then the instant our eyes met again, I knew I should not bother.
Because seeing you there, coming by after how many months of abandonment, of untold reasons, of deleting me out of your life, I get it.
I don’t even care about you anymore. I just needed the validation by seeing you in the flesh. The validation that I’ve come to accept– that the moment you turn your back on me was the moment I won’t ever need you here.
Your phone rung and I saw your eyes lit up. The way it was never when you were mine.
That cemented it. You shouldn’t have come back.
And I shouldn’t even be feeling this stab all over again.