Known her for 10 years.
She was a mutual friend and I liked her from the get go. Went to gatherings more just so I could see her. I was attached then. So it stayed that way. Just attraction. Nothing else.
Time passed and an opportunity came up to work with her. Not closely just in the same company and it consumed me. I felt elated when I saw her and out interactions grew. Still I did not act on it. Felt it was the right thing to do, so I broke up with my ex as I couldn’t stand the guilt of my mind being constantly flashed images of someone else.
Took some time off, changed my job and tried to move on but she was always in the background. Some announcement and gathering of some sort and there she was. She was there and I liked it. Her presence, her smile, our interations were friendly and felt like she saw me.
With a different job, our interactions became less frequent but it was like a drug. Eventually I thought it wore off and when she got married, I gave them my blessing and thought that was it.
Then I got married and thought it was the nail in the coffin.
Then something huge happened. She had to leave the country as her husband was moved outstation for work. We had a gathering as usual. Food, drinks, the whole enchilada… then came the parting.
It was a hug like never before. Time stood still. Lights went out. We took each other in. Deeply.
I allowed myself to take her in. Her warmth, her form, her smell, the weight of her on me. It felt different. It was different.
Then we parted and her smiley face muttered a “take care” and I stuttered an “all the best”, mildly stunned and somewhat glad of the interaction. Maybe I was overthinking this interaction.
After the party, we walked towards our car which was parked coincidentally close. It felt like a slow march to the end. The walk was quite and there were tensed moments. Our footsteps were screaming. Punctuating the silence.
Then as we reached the vehicle, I popped the question. Just needed to know what happened between us all those years ago. Just needed to know through the ambiguity, cut to the chase, and there we talked. Flipped every page of the life we had with each other and affirmed what was felt but not acted on those many many years ago.
We shook hands, we held hands. I did not want to let go. We did not let go. We hugged. We kissed. Like it was in the books. Searing my soul and drowning my senses, I drowned.
But that was that. It ebbed slowly, we held hands, held on, and then reality set in. The world resumed its spin and we were flung back into reality and our goodbyes sealed our lips.
I want to move on. But I couldn’t. I thought I could but it won’t let me.
five years since and it visits me from time to time. Details fresh and vivid. Guilt that follows cut me to shreds. I let myself water it down with drink and company, and it peters out till the next time that glowing ember fizzes to life.
I yearn for closure. Over a monumental regret, the mounting guilt, the endless vacuous dreamscapes that cloud my way. It felt like an appendage I need to severe but which I would miss the use of.