How would you feel if you were constantly thinking about someone, and he materialized, as if out of thin air?
It was as if my very thoughts had lent the crisp air a shimmery aura and shaped it to behold his form.
I wanted to smile at him, but it froze before it could form on my lips.
The air broke out into a volley of greetings and high fives. My heart hammered in my chest, and I panicked. I felt torn. Part of me wanted to go up to him and say something. Act normal, act normal, I repeated to myself like some kind of mantra. I chided myself for the jitteriness, reminding myself that if I had had the guts to do that in the first place, none of this havoc would have ensued.
The rest of me skulked in the shadows, and hid its face in shame. With the horror of realizing the degree of effort it had taken over the past few days. Weeks maybe. This being tugged at the other half and pulled it down into the depths of misery.
I sat on the cold steps, frozen like a statue, head bent in abject wretchedness. The cold that had already seeped into my bones had nothing to do with the icy draft wafting over us. It had already chilled me and frozen over.
I wanted him to come over and talk to me. I mentally willed him to. And he did.
A pale moon floated low in a purple sky. Some light from it revealed a crescent-shaped glint; a hint of a smile. A shadow moved; the dark of his jacket. He came and sat next to me. My mind went into overdrive, digging at every nook and cranny for a thread to start the conversation. A fucking word, for Godsakes.
Fresh waves of shame engulfed me. I remembered, ashen faced, the last time we had had a conversation. Eyes downcast, afraid to meet his. Even if there was no accusation in his, there was blatant regret in mine.
I hated myself for it. And I hated him for having that placid calm all about him. Because when he had that, I couldn’t figure him out. I couldn’t read him. There was nothing in his eyes I could decipher, because even if I had bolstered enough courage to look up, the turmoil within me would have left me perpetually harried.
I wanted to shake him, punch him, kick him. Or all three. Anything that’d result in a nosebleed perhaps.
But I was too tired, too weary for any of that. The fight had left me, and only despair steeped in my marrow, chilling it more than the cold wind did. I stared at the criss-cross of black and grey shadows that changed form on the ground as he gestured in emphasis.
How far should one go to save oneself from the perils of regret?
The cold swept in and filled in the void between us.