She had already stormed out of the cafe in anger. It wouldn’t make sense to look back again.
She turned back and gazed across the street one last time. Already no trace of that casually loosened golden tie that stood out from a mile, just like his smile.
What was she thinking? He had been really sweet to asked her to lunch- she had been so excited, thinking it’s a date and that they could actually be a thing- just to tell her she’s unworthy of love and to remind her of every insecurity she ever had as if she hadn’t noticed them already and bore their brunt every waking moment.
She had genuinely thought he was wonderful. They had had beautiful conversations and even better eye contact. She had fallen for him so bad and now it ached all over.
The wind made her hair fall on her face as if to tell her to stop looking. She turned around, pulled her jacket closer to herself and continued on her way home.
She got into the train and stared down. She noticed the silk hem of her black dress, blending with her cocoa-tinted skin. Usually it would have reminded her of parties and elegance but today it just looked like a cloudy rippling sky, about to burst at any moment.
The sky held on until the keys to her apartment were turned but trying to stop a storm only increases the wrath when it wrecks anyway. It poured and poured, down her cheeks and all over that beautiful black dress.
As day broke and the skies cleared, even if only temporarily, she woke up from the mess she was sleeping in and decided to bathe. Yes, a shower was definitely what she needed.
She came out feeling infinitesimally better and ate some dissatisfying cereals before leaving for college. She was numb, cold and in general in no state of mind to learn about Gothic architecture.
An uneventful morning passed. At lunch, she was sitting in a corner of the canteen, munching something indistinguishable; she usually sat in the center, tried new food and met new people. She loved socialising. But today, the idea of conversation beyond necessity seemed impossible. She was about to go put the plate away when he grabbed her hand, took the plate, put it away and looked into her eyes and said, “Please. One moment. Outside. Now.”
The storm that had frozen overnight threatened to start a fresh tsunami but she held her gaze and trembling heart in place and walked out with him.
His golden tie was a little more askew than usual, hair more disheveled, eyes more worn and hands more clenched.
He abruptly stopped near the fountain and turned around. She bumped into him and lost balance but he steadied her with his arms. The same old warmth of his skin brought a new weakness to her knees.
He said, “Hey, you alright?”
"Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Tell me. What did you want to say?" Her voice was small, emotionless and timid but she decided that the less time this took the better it would be.
"About yesterday at the cafe, I’m really sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I shouldn’t have. I just-"
"It’s okay. And I’m sorry too, for over-reacting."
"You say that all the time. ‘I’m sorry.’ As if everything is your fault. It’s not, you know? Your reaction was perfectly understandable."
She just didn’t get him anymore and gave up. “I don’t think my apologetic nature is of concern to you anymore.”
"But it is."
"And why is that, huh?" He was really getting on her nerves now. She was late for class and more importantly, in love with him. How could someone so frustrating be so amazing? She could feel tears begin to sting at her eyes. She looked up and tried to make it go away but it just got worse. A tear escaped and she held her ragged breath.
"Because- are you crying? Don’t cry-" he reached his arms out. "-I’m so sorry. I just- " she gave up and turned away from him, sobbing out new storms.
He put his hands down and clenched his fist again. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I understand if you hate me.” He paused for a reply.
She hadn’t thought about hating him but now she felt like she was getting there. He had insulted her all afternoon yesterday and now she was supposed to go running in his arms like she had done in her daydreams?
He swallowed in nervousness at the lack of response and continued.
“-It’s just that I’m not good with this. I didn’t know how to tell you. And and it came out all wrong.”
She asked with a voice even smaller, “What did you want to say?”
Silence. Even in their heartbeats.
"I’m in love with you."