I Will Have An ‘Americano’

It had been a long few months since I had heard from the elusive villain with the dark eyes and deep voice that had encompassed all my thoughts for the past 4 years a few months. It was a rainy day, the sky was dark and the side sweeping water that slapped me across the face made the whole event feel much more dramatic than a simple encounter. I saw him there across the street when I approached the intersection, customary to his style, he was wearing black, grey, and white, and it suited him. Despite not having my glasses, his stance was all the identification I needed, and I hoped that from across the way he wouldn’t notice my smile, feel my calculations or sense the emotions that ran so absurdly inside of me as I counted down the moments for the light to change.

At once in reaching him, all restrictions fell from me, and I grinned when he embraced me after what felt like a year. But in that moment, the absent 5 months were reduced to yesterday. Everything about him was familiar; I had known him and together we had spoken uninhibitedly, perhaps it would be strange to say that it felt like I was meeting up with myself again, an older identity that while now evolved still felt relevant. He smiled back at me and as only he could, it was a ‘hello’ that saw right through me.

Starbucks-IITo know him was to be inside a vault under arrest. Rarely did he show weakness, he was a hard exterior and at the same time humor, fun, wit, and art. We meandered over to the nearby Starbucks, an ironic establishment in the heart of irony; suggesting it made him smirk. We ordered our coffees and quickly grabbed a table between two single men, one on each side both wearing headphones.

Catching up between us was a formality. I was on edge and had to ask “Who am I speaking to?” What can I say that he will not know, and just as I had expected, everything I told him appeared to be smeared across my face. My personal life came into question to which I revealed some of my experiences and new realizations, one of them being a newly found self-confidence that was always there but now flourished from such frequent practice. Similarly, he spoke of his romantic ventures which I swallowed with a grain of salt. I noticed that the topic catapulted me into a state of uneasiness and so I found myself reassuring him that I had not replaced him. He never spoke with intentions of romance in mind, I believed his honesty always, but the feeling of desiring his approval crept upon me like a ghost that feigned crossing over.

We sipped and spoke for two hours, but as he kept looking at his watch, time was up. More time was up, more time over between us, more time saying there was no time.

As self-preservingly as possible, I professed that somewhere in our evolution, despite a chaotic clean break, there was still a willingness. It did not embarrass me to shed the shield of coy congratulations and smiles, I said what I needed, and it returned to me. Standing outside in the rain ready to go our separate ways back into the worlds we had created without the other, he hugged me firmly and his touch that I had forgotten flooded right back into my most vivid memories. I remembered the scent on his neck and the circumference of his back, and what it was to feel his kiss on my forehead. I looked up at his face and I saw the flecks of red hair in his dark but neat goatee, and smelled the aroma of coffee and cigarettes on his breath just before he pressed his lips to mine.

While I walked away without an umbrella, his kiss lingered in my mind. Did I still have hope for us? I guess I do (present). I tried to think if that kiss was the same as they were before: the answer was ‘No’. Were they meant to? So much had happened to even begin to hope that things would reveal no passage of time. What made me most somber was to feel that after once being so linked, we were now cordial strangers who allowed to show only the appropriate amount of interest and investment. Still, as I walked away, my mind flashed his red hairs, his lips, then the feeling against mine.

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