I stare blankly at the night outside the glass window, finding the right words to say to the girl sitting quietly before me. My hands are clenched tight against the cold albeit my body clothed with a sweater.
She looks beautiful tonight more than ever. Wearing a simple top and a miniskirt, she seems genuinely happy. Still, it has not changed since the last time we met more than a year ago: she can’t look me straight in the eye.
My phone vibrates from time to time in which I try to check in stealth. Then she asks without glancing “Are you waiting for a text from someone?” I believe she wanted to know if I have a girlfriend or if I am seeing someone else. But why would she care anyway? “Nah, just checking the clock. I don’t have watch, eh.”
From the moment she arrived home from abroad last month, she kept on asking when will I be available to see her. She actually requested me to pick her up from the airport and drive her home. I didn’t have the slightest clue she’s coming back too soon, knowing only her 2-year contract with her foreign employer which started only last April. Counting, that was roughly six months only. Still, I never got to fetch her because she wasn’t able to give me the complete details of her arrival. But even if she did, I can’t for I was in Vietnam for a weekend vacation trip.
Finally, she looks at me but with a suppressed smile. “Who’s that?”
“…I’m loyal,” I answer.
She disagrees base from the cunning expression on her face. “Yes,” I respond before an awkward silence take over. Did she get what I said? What is she thinking now? What, she just smirked? I should have said something responsive, something better, something direct.
Looking back, we seem to have a well-written love story: I love her and she loves me too. But after some time, for unknown reasons, we fell apart — I don’t want to blame her though. And from those hours of poignant bitterness, I learned to write and move on.
My eyes turn on the table where two cups of vanilla sundae and a medium fries rest. As she takes her ice cream, a reflection of a white light gleams from her left hand. I look closely, and she’s wearing the ring I gave.
“Why do you still wear that?” I point to her ring finger.
“You can take it back,” she removes the ring and places it on the table.
“I have my own,” I say. “I’m just surprised that you now wear that when you don’t used to when we’re still together.”
“I have no other ring,” her eyes slowly meet mine. She was wearing the same contact lens, the color of olives. “I usually forget to wear this ring when I leave the house. Just please take this… give it to her.”
My phone vibrates again. I clutch it from my pocket and open my inbox: Where are you? I check the clock and it’s 9:26 already. “I think it’s time. Let’s go.”
“You go ahead. It’s early, I’ll leave at ten,” she declines.
“I was just thinking of the last trip. And, aren’t you cold already?” I offer my jacket for the last time which she again refuses.
“Okay then,” she still appears undone like she wanted to tell me something but she finally agrees to go.
It appears like we share the same dilemma: how to tell what we feel for each other. I honestly feel uneasy because I never have clarified anything tonight. There are a lot of things playing in my mind but I guess it’s late… it’s too late.
I walk her to the last terminal going to their house. We part ways without a single touch, embrace, and kiss. Up to the last minute, I try to keep distance. I don’t know but I feel sorry, perhaps because I used to love her so much that I withered waiting for her to speak up, show up and stand for the love she claims. I’m sorry to feel that a love’s gone… it’s all gone to waste.
While savoring the cool breeze of a December eve on my way home, my phone vibrates again. There are two unread messages from different persons. I open the inbox and find her name. Thanks for the time. By the way, I forgot to tell you something. I’ll just say it next time we meet.
The other one reads: My love?