It was too hot to be a mid-October day. Some trees were slowly losing their yellow and orange coloured leaves; others still battled with autumn, sporting green leaves, with no hint of darker shades present on their surface. A cold wind had picked up cooling down the temperature’s perception to an adequate one. People around the campus had been wary of the weather, and most of them had decided for a safer option and were cocooned in their jackets and scarves.
There was one student though, that was the black sheep of the day. With her headphones set on her head and trying to steer clear of the masses of people, her only wish was to get past them as soon as possible, but it would be hard to succeed in staying invisible. After all, how could she with her arms exposed to the harsh wind? She was starting to regret her foolish decision to leave her leather jaked behind on the little table at the entrance of her apartment. Shivers were running down her spine; inside she was a turmoil, a storm was forming, even if from the outside she looked like stone. Her eyes and body didn’t betray her this time, and she was delighted about it.
In the distance, she could already see the cherry tree she fancied so much and the absence of other students in its proximity due to its far position and no real, comfortable place to sit down. Perfect, she thought. Nothing was more relaxing than knowing that your favourite spot wasn’t taken and you could enjoy your peace without having to worry about anything else. Once she reached her destination, she plopped down, leaning her head on the cold and rusty surface of the trunk behind her before a long sigh left her lips. She carefully glanced at her phone’s screen, hoping to see something, anything.
After a few minutes spent without moving and averting her gaze, she closed her eyes. She could feel the tears coming. It was hard not to, even after over a year. In her mind, his image was still clear, those green eyes that would stare back at her and make her blush deepen profusely, always freeing emotions she hadn’t control over. Not that she minded. She had long ago stopped trying to hide her true feelings for him, especially when he knew before her the truth behind those stares, those words whispered into the night, those kisses. How she longed to feel, his arms wrap around her, see his dimples when he smiled down at her. She had lost him once, not by her willing choice. It was too painful and soul-crushing to imagine it could happen again, and this time with no coming back. Forever.
Funny how once she was dreaming of spending her life with him, of having a forever together and now she was left with bittersweet memories and a hope that was pending from a thin thread. A small tear escaped her eyes, running down her cheek. She squeezed her eyes together as if the action could stop the storm that was coming. The first tear was followed by more, leaving her face colder than before. A strangled sob was caught between her throat, ready to be freed but her stubbornness didn’t let it, so her body took revenge. The shivers became trembles, and the trembles became shudders, and soon all her body started convulsing. She brought her knees up and rested her head on the new surface covering it with her crossed arms, as if it could become like a comforting cocoon, trying to calm herself down.
Slowly her tears began falling on her jeans, reaching the material and sinking in. Her mind was too fogged to be able to register anything else than the thoughts that were crossing and mixing with each other, leaving her with a coming headache if she couldn’t calm down soon enough. She lifted up her head with a preoccupying speed as her safe space dissolved with the change of position when a sudden vibration came from her hand. Her heart rate had started to go crazy, just like she was feeling inside. With hopeful eyes, she slowly lifted her arm and pressed the power on button on the right side of the technological device. A notification had popped up on her lock screen. Without even glancing one more time, she unlocked her phone and clicked on the banner. A message presented itself under her attentive eyes. It contained only a word, but it was a reply. He had answered her.
With her heart in her throat, she exhaled, feeling lightheaded. He had answered. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Panic settled in once she finally registered what it meant, or rather what it might mean. After all, one year had passed by, but she still knew him. Her breaths became more laboured, and her sight started swimming before her eyes. Grabbing her backpack, she fumbled around before producing a bottle of water. Taking a long gulp, she closed her eyes, trying to remember to breathe in and out slowly. After a few minutes, her eyes had cleared, and she concentrated again on the text she would write next.
Quickly moving her fingers, she started to press the various buttons on the keyboard to compose another message and continue the conversation. She knew things would never go back to what they used to be. She had messed up big time, and it was already a miracle that he had forgiven her, but that didn’t mean that things, once they got back to normal, could get even better than before. She had learned from her mistakes and wasn’t planning on ruining things once again. A chuckle left her lips. She had been so preoccupied to lose him that in the end, she was stupid enough to make her fears come true.
As the conversation between the two continued, old emotions resurfaced from the buried place they had been hidden in, and the girl did nothing to stop them. She might regret it later, but at the moment, she was feeling on cloud nine. The truth was substantial and still present, the elephant in the room had been addressed, and there was no going back, not that she would even think about it. Her heart took a leap once her eyes skimmed over a sentence that she had dreaded to read. It was time to tell him the truth: why she came back.
Cautiousness was put in her every word as well as her true feelings while she composed her message, trying to find the best way to get across what her real intentions and thoughts were. Her finger typed without stopping, in fear that the words she had finally found would disappear again. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time he’d leave her speechless, wordless and flustered. A game of cat and mouse, a friend once pointed out.
As soon as she was done typing, she sent the message without skimming it over. Raw truth means no correction, no overthinking, no stopping. A nervous aura dawned on her. She instinctively started torturing her lips with her teeth, anxiously waiting for a reply, that she hoped would come soon. She had always been impatient when it came to him, her craving for more seemed never satisfied, and the growing need only worsened the situation. He was like a drug she couldn’t and wouldn’t get rid of. Fortunately, for the poor girl, the awaited message didn’t delay too long. She couldn’t help but smile once she read the words underneath her eyes. He still knew her too. Maybe too well, but when you once loved someone, you cannot stop it from happening. And so she didn’t. She never did. He had imagined that getting it out, expressing her thoughts had been difficult, and she would be lying if she tried to deny it. At the same time, though, they both knew she would do almost anything to get him back. To be able to call him hers again.
Once the girl glanced up again from the bright screen of her phone, she gasped. The sky had darkened considerably. Instinctively she rotated her left wrist and tried to read the time on her watch. She had been sitting on the hard ground under that tree for too long, and she could barely feel her legs. Once she succeeded in standing up wobbling a bit, a cold wind hit her bare skin, making her shiver. Oh, she was definitely regretting one of the choices she had taken that morning now. Swinging her briefcase over her head, she started walking to the entrance-exit of the campus, soon hurrying her steps in an attempt to let her body temperature preserve the adequate warmth.
Her headphones were still on, but she had been too distracted to notice that the music had stopped playing a long time ago. As soon as she started her journey back, she pressed the middle button on her music application, and the first notes of All of Me graced her eardrums. A longing smile appeared on her lips. This had been their song. While mouthing the lyrics along with the beat, she started wondering if they would ever have another song that could describe them as that one did so well before.
Before she even knew it, she reached home, changed and tossed herself on her sofa. Once she was comfortable enough, she looked at her notifications again and was quite surprised to see some messages from him waiting for her. She read and re-read every single text, replying to each and soon continuing the conversation with him, eager to get lost in the bliss his words brought to her. And once his voice graced her senses again, she was ready to get lost once more, never wanting this to end, never wanting to let go of him because after all, he was the one for her.
When two lonely souls find each other, sparks will fly. But when two damaged ones cross their paths and start opening to each other, helping the other to heal, they’ll lit like striking matches and burn everything around them like a match made in hell.