Dusk was approaching rapidly. It was just after the Maghrib azaan. The sky was lit up in pale blues and mauves. I walked across the parking lot alone. Cold and solitary, like my thoughts. Twilight descended down on the treetops in long, spooky shadows. Purple patches ominously stretched along the rocky asphalt. I weaved my way through the throng, thinking about him. Always thinking about him. I didn't even know what classes he had then.
Tall, willowy, he was standing right in my line of sight. My heart lurched guiltily.
JM was standing in front of him. 'Hey! Long time! How are you?' she chirped happily.
Grateful for the distraction, I plastered a smile on my face and exchanged pleasantries. He was busy talking to two other people. Half of me wanted him to look over and wave. Come over and talk to me. The other half squirmed awkwardly and wished it could vapourize instantly, there and then.
I stepped away. He hollered my name. Two syllables that made me cringe. The half that hadn't wanted him to notice me contemplated whether to stay there or move away. But by that time, he had already initiated a conversation.
'Hey! How have you been? How come you're here? Long time!'
Major understatement, I thought ruefully. I didn't even remember if there had even been a last time. I'd almost forgotten his face- well, almost.
'I have this class right now,' I replied, trying to sound natural. I felt extremely awkward. I gulped a few dozen times, and blinked rapidly in my nervousness.
He addressed the other two who were lounging about, talking about courses. Teachers.The needle in my brain that had stuck and made it freeze started whirring all of a sudden. I remembered that I had to be somewhere and excused myself.
I felt agitated when I got home. Forced myself to get distracted. Weakness got the better of me. I picked up my cell phone and punched in digits that seemed to have been etched into my memory. Stared at the little screen, willing it to change from 'Dialling' to 'Connected.'
Seconds ticked by like eons of eternity.
And then, with one last surge of indignation and contempt, I furiously jabbed at the little red button on the screen and flung the cell phone away.