Sometimes it seems as though you always run into certain people at certain places…whether it’s at the mall, the gym, or at Wal-Mart. For me and him, it was always the gas station. It’s moments like this when I wonder about the circumstance of coincidence or if there really is a thing such as fate.
We locked eyes and I immediately smiled. We had a brief summer fling before my first year of law school and have maintained a sense of mutual respect ever sense.
“You look good!” he said. “You look different. You colored your hair…you lost some weight…”
I just smiled and said, “yes.”
He looked the same. Tall and lean. Jet black hair. Golden skin. The prettiest turquoise eyes I’ve ever seen.
“You look happy,” he said.
“I am,” I replied.
“Good for you,” he said, with a simple nod.
We just stood there, eyeing each other and smiling…both of us carrying silly little grins. Then we both just burst out laughing. Yea…it was one of those moments. I couldn’t remember the last time I was this at ease and giddy at the same time.
“Sorry,” he said. “Damn, you just look really good. I know I just said that like 5 times, but I don’t know what else to say.”
I blushed like a school girl.
After a few seconds of stalling, he looked off to the side and somberly said, “I’m getting married next month.”
“I know,” I said. “Congratulations.”
In those 60 seconds, the mood had changed. Before anything else could be said, I asked for a hug and said that I needed to be on my way. He came over to my car and gave me one of those intimate hugs, where you can feel every muscle and every breath he takes. There was no space between his chest and mine.
“It could’ve been you,” he said. Then he kissed me on the forehead, took a deep breath, released me, and walked to his car. It was like a scene from a movie. Out of all the movie scenes in the world, why was I stuck with this sad one.
In that split second, something came over me. It was like ksoranna took over…my ego that was irrational, emotionally driven and too brazen for her own good.
“Wait!” I yelled and ran to him…straight into his arms. Not only did he accept my embrace…he lifted me up to meet his face. Our lips met and we kissed.
In the middle of the gas station…me in my late 20s…he in his mid 30s…like high school sweethearts saying good-bye…we kissed. My arms wrapped around his neck, legs wrapped around his back…his arms holding me steady…we kissed. Unaware of the stares, unaware of the heat, unaware of the time and place…we kissed. Like the memory of his lips hadn’t been absent from mine, for the last 6 years…we kissed.
As suddenly as it started, it stopped. He gently held me as I rested my head in the crook of his neck, one last time. The look on his face, once he released me…was it anguish, regret, guilt??
“Do me a favor,” he stated. “Please delete me from your Facebook and erase my number.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I can’t bear to do it and you are stronger than me,” he said.
A few seconds later…the exchange of “good-byes” and “take cares.” I knew that the next time I saw him, if I even would see him again, he would be a married man.
I drove off. “It could’ve have been you” repeated over and over in my head. I don’t know what I felt. It wasn’t guilt…it wasn’t even sadness. More like that dreadful acceptance that everyone else around me was moving on and starting new lives and new families…while I was still stuck in park.
I pulled my car over to the side of the road and like another sad movie scene, I put my head in my hands and cried.