It takes time to realise that nobody really cares, and a little bit more to know that the nobody- was in her bedside photo frame.
But he wasn’t just a nobody, was he?
Because each day as she repeated that blatant lie to herself, over and over, she could feel her case become more and more hopeless. Her fingers would skim the gashes that accompanied a third-grade apartment, each one giving a peak into what most people would recall as ‘good times’. And yet, she couldn’t help but regard them as scars of an unforgettable yesterday, seeping into her today and tomorrows.
Her thoughts would run carefree and wild, to the sleepless nights and highway rides, when they didn’t have the slightest clue about where they were, or where they were headed, as the drowsy breeze in her hair became their navigator. In that moment, if she closed her eyes, she could almost feel her head resting on the car windowsill, her eyes trying to swallow the universe in its entirety. In that moment, she felt the emptiness of the road and the endless stars above unite them.
“And yet, we remained galaxies apart, didn’t we?”
She’d miss him sometimes. There was this rush, coursing through her being when they were together. An urgency to say everything at once, a yearning to hold onto his worn jacket, and never let go.
But even if she did try to forget, there wasn’t really a choice, was there? She had no escape. There was a song that soon became a hit on the radio, and it would sound eerily similar to the rustle of his brown hair, the jingle of his convertible keys.
There was a recipe at her mother’s diner, and it smelled just like his crusty morning pancakes, flaked with egg shells she didn’t have the heart to tell him about.
There was a bar they used to frequent on weekends, and it was filled with mysteries, just like his words.
There was a bed in a dingy apartment right across the street, it’s sheets scattered- just how he’d left them.
It amazed her now, how she’d mistaken a twinkle for a star, let him wreck her all, just for a sample. How long she’d hoped that when he held her hand in his, it wasn’t just for show, and when he touched his lips with hers, it wasn’t just a ‘spur of the moment’ thing.
Because for her, it was so much more.
It was the warmth of the setting sun, the drizzle that sprinkled her hair and clothes. It was the scent of dirt after rain, the silence of twilight.
She would reminisce over the night on the roadside highway, under the jet black sky. Their fingers crossed together- isn’t that what love is supposed to be like?
Being lost together with no sense of direction, isn’t that how they do it in the movies?
They were alone, but they were both here. Was she really to blame, if she believed destiny played a role? Failing to understand the game he played, falling prey to his promises and stringed lines.
“Wake up, darling. It’s just a dream,” he would say.
She knew now, it’s meant to stay that way.