Five years later, you are walking down the street while humming a song that was a big hit back in the eighties. You almost walk past a sidewalk coffee shop but you stop in your tracks almost immediately when you hear a very familiar song playing from the speakers in that coffee shop. The familiar sweet aroma of coffee is taking over your senses and you can’t help but turn your head to your left, to where the coffee shop is located at.
That’s it. That’s the one. That’s the coffee shop, you think to yourself. Somehow, it looks newer than it was before. The nostalgia starts to sink in as you let your eyes roam over the place through the glass as some customers are engage in conversation, as the workers are fully engrossed in their work. It really feels like home. Then a flash of memory starts to hit you hard, so hard that you find it difficult to breathe.
You used to ask him out for a cup of coffee and you’d sit at that small round table for two in the corner while waiting for him to come. And he used to ask you out too, for the same cup of coffee, and he’d sit and wait for you at the same round table for two, in the same coffee shop. You would see him smile and order the same black coffee each time, and you remember asking him about the bitter taste of it. “It was quite unbearable at first sip, at first cup. But you’ll get used to it after a few more sips, after a few more cups. Just like life.” He said on a rainy afternoon.
You would tell him about your day, anything that’s bothering you and everything that once made you smile. He would always listen carefully and closely to what you had to say, and it sure felt like everything was fading away when his eyes landed on yours. It was a daily routine of yours and his, and it was your everything back then.
You then remember the way he used to give you a gentle look that came along with a warm smile and how he knew the number of sugar cubes you’d want to stir into your coffee because he knew you that well, as well as you did; him.
A different song starts to play in that coffee shop and that snaps you out of your thoughts. You look far ahead and notice a lady in a white top with jeans and a pair of sneakers to match her top. She has a black bag draped over her shoulder and a medium length chestnut brown hair framing her face beautifully. Her steps are rather quick; quick but steady. It’s as though she is rushing to meet someone important.
She then makes a turn to her right and steps into the coffee shop. Your eyes follow her as she stops at a familiar table, at a familiar spot in the shop. You widen your eyes as you see a familiar figure standing at the other side of the table.
Who is he?
Is it him?
A gentle smile spreads across his face.
Oh that smile.
You can’t really forget his smile.
It really is him.
He reaches out to her and pulls her into a gentle embrace. You start to feel uneasy, for some reasons. You watch as she kisses him on his lips, as she smiles against his mouth, and somehow, you feel pain flaming across your chest. They look really good together, and really happy too. It’s been five years already, it shouldn’t hurt like this, you think.
Five years ago, he grabbed your hand and pleaded with you to stay but you forcefully pulled your hand out of his grasp and walked away like it was almost nothing. You didn’t even bother to look back at him. And now, you think that if you chose to stay back then, if you didn’t think about leaving at all back then, that happy lady who’s sitting across him right now, would be you instead.
It should have been you, if you did not leave him back then.