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Friendship Romance Sad

Maybe

I reach the room, 404 and pause a brief second before I knock. I swallow hard and hesitate, do I really want to do this? I already regret my decision. I muster the courage and knock, lightly, hoping that it would go unheard. Before I can contemplate further the door opens and I am staring into those familiar dark brown eyes. The eyes. How much ever I try, the first thing that always catches my sight. He sighs and I am forced to take in his whole face, his tired face, all traces of charm wearing away as the years pass by. But as I stare at him relief rushes over me as a surge of familiarity envelops and clouds my mind, all the anxious thoughts get sidetracked. He smiles, a soft smile that almost reaches his eyes and immediately realizing that I am still standing outside, he opens the door to allow me inside. 

His house always looks neat, he is meticulous in that sense. I follow him as he immediately walks to the kitchen to prepare me a drink. His body language hasn't changed, I think, still coloured by the boyish stride in his steps, disguised very poorly in an attempt to appear mature. I take it all in, his face and his mannerisms, an attempt to freeze his features, an attempt to create an image that fills me with peace rather than anguish.

I sit down on a sofa that is comfortable yet clearly worn out. He hands me a drink and settles in a chair directly opposite to me. The sound of the rain tapping the windows intrudes our silence and helps in smoothing down the tension in the room. I drink while looking outside the window, watching the rain make impressions on the glass, wishing I didn't sit down so soon so that I could have watched the rain up close. He shuffles his feet impatiently, he always fidgets when he is nervous, I sense him glancing at me occasionally but I am too tired to look at him again.

‘You always liked the rain” He comments, looking down. I force myself to turn my eyes away from the window and look at him. I smile. I don't know what to say. I have always loved the rain. The rain that falls lightly only to playfully tease the lovers, the rain that pours down to match the sorrow felt and even the rain that is so harsh it forces people to prayer rooms, I love all of them. But perhaps the rain I love the most is the one in which I first saw him. The rain that felt like the beginning to every other rain, the rain that made me wonder why I had never till that date paid attention to the way the water flows and lands so rhythmically on the land. Or maybe I was just thinking about why I had never paid attention to the way the rain left his face drenched in water droplets, droplets that gleamed in the sunlight afterwards as I watched him from afar as if he were a painting and the rain the artist. I still remember the way he slid his hand across his wet hair and smiled and turned to his friends as they teased him about something. I can still feel the way my throat tightened and the way my heart dipped. I can still trace that feeling and mark exactly when and where it happened. It was that moment that I felt like I could finally feel everything in my body, the beating heart, the throbbing pulse, the heat rushing to my cheeks amidst the cold air and at that moment everything clicked and I wondered why I didn't realize this truth.

I had just known him for a few months and that too from mutual friends and so I tried to rationalize the deep affection I felt towards a stranger. We were in the same University, his friends were my friends, everywhere I went I heard his name and as much as I feigned lack of interest, I was craving for more. I craved his voice and the way he talked, even if not to me and the way his eyes lit up as he cracked a joke, mostly I craved more information so that I could fill the gaps and reassure myself why I shouldn’t like him. However the more I knew about him the more I found myself hoping to see him in every nook and corner. His voice so naturally coloured my cheeks, and I used to turn around with a fear that he would see my face and uncover the deep affection that I harbour inside for him. When we met, I would stay silent, listening patiently for him to speak, to listen to his words and collect them, so that I could store them in my mind and replay them over and over again, study the tone of his voice and the way his laugh crackles here and there. I stared at him long and often and I still remember my heart feeling a deep ache when he never gave me another glance when I realized that he saw me just as another girl, just as another friend that he occasionally hung out with.

Tell him, my friends rushed me, for we were now spending so much time with his group and they could see how flustered I was getting, how difficult it was for me to stay in the same room as him as my heart kept hammering in my chest all the while. But it turned out that neither did I need to tell nor did I need to pretend, secrets leaked and became the uglier versions of themselves, rumours, and before I could intervene almost everyone knew. I could have rejected it and maybe I should have, but then it had felt cowardly to do so. From then onwards whenever he saw me he gave me extra attention, a soft smile playing on his lips, a smile dipped in pity and every time I saw it, I felt a wave of deep anger against everyone and anything, I didn't need his pity. I never expected him to reciprocate my feelings, it was very evident right from the start that he never saw me important enough to give a second thought. And so we never acknowledged it, never dealt with it as our friends expected us to because what is there to tell when one person has feelings so deep she cannot even speak and the other person is so indifferent he can't even be bothered to speak, 

I look at him now, staring at me, expecting a reply to a statement he made which I already forgot. I wonder if he stands in the rain today, will his face look as beautiful as it did that day, will the rain gracefully fall around him as they paint him once again, but even if he does look as beautiful as ever, will I feel the same way as I did that day 10 years ago? I place the empty glass on the coffee table in front of me and hand him the envelope I have been holding for so long that it feels a part of my hand. It is crumbled and stained but I am sure the card inside still looks as elegant as ever. 

His pov

Her hand lingers in the air for quite some time as she hands me an envelope. I do not want to take it. The minute I do, I know she will leave. But I am glad that this was a reason for a visit, she could have easily handed this chore to someone else. Her hand hovers for a while and I can see her mouth twitching as I don't reach out and hold the envelope. Finally, she keeps it on the coffee table in front and looks at me with an exasperated sigh. She looks the same yet very different. The smooth curls that frame her face are the same length as they were 5 years ago but her face looks sharp and defined, the girlish softness slowly fading away with the years.

The truth is I don’t remember the first time I saw her or the second or the third time. I just know that we met a lot at university. I remember hearing that she liked me and feeling surprised and trying my best to not make it more awkward for a girl as shy as her. She never stood out, she was always in the background, but one thing I do remember from then was how much she used to laugh, even at the silliest of things.

But it was this laugh that felt familiar 5 years later when I was shopping for groceries at the nearby supermarket. I heard the distinct laugh again and took the effort to find the owner of this laugh, I didn't recognize this person neither at the first glance nor the second but the minute she looked up to me I could see recognition dawn in her eyes. She smiled and walked up to me. She laughed. Her laugh again reminded me of memory so vague and far. Her face was plain and simple, not highly remarkable to remember for a long time. “Coincidence” she stated and as I stood there with memories of her face but not her name, instead of being disappointed she reached out and shook my arm, introducing herself as if we were strangers just getting to know each other. And so we began a friendship, two young adults with a job for namesake and drunk in the feverish excitement and fear of handling adult responsibilities. 

In a foreign country far from home, it felt good to have company, especially of someone who starts every conversation with, “Hey remember when’, even when I never remembered when. She remembered everything from 5 years ago, even my jokes that were barely jokes. I slowly found myself warming up to her. She laughed at everything. And.. it was beautiful. She felt like home at a time when I myself didn't know where I belonged. We started creating memories that I swore to remember forever, even though it was her laugh that always stood out. With a laugh like that, she could never be in the background but rather it was my ignorance that cast her as a side character. I could not believe that I didn't spend more time with her at University. I stared at her and wondered how I could have ever forgotten this face, this pure face with its eager eyes and slightly hooked nose that only adds to her charm. Occasionally I saw in her eyes a deep longing and a look of intensity and I wondered whether it was mirrored in mine. When I realized with the assurance that she still had feelings over me, I felt light in a way that I never felt. Soon we realized that the thread of her feelings for me ran longer than mine but with the way, I couldn't stop thinking about her smile, the crook of her neck, the curls of her hair, with the way I couldn’t stop thinking about her, I was very sure that I would eventually reach her. It wasn’t sudden or rushed, my feelings for her increased ever so slowly that I hardly noticed, but the impact of it would hit me each time I looked over and watched her smile or make an off-hand comment. When I finally caught up with her, she wasn't there anymore. She wasn't there waiting for me to tie the threads together anymore. Just like long threads are tangled and brittle, her love too broke before it was tied and locked safely

I try to look at her now but she continues to avoid my eyes. I stare at her until she turns towards me and I can see tears forming in her deep brown eyes and I look away not sure if I want to see the tears rolling down her cheeks. 

Her Pov

Maybe one shouldn't harbour feelings for someone so long without their presence, maybe one shouldn’t build up a world in their mind with only the idea of someone. I had been in love with him so long that when it finally became real, I did not know how to react or feel. I felt like I was floating in the sky and he caught me and anchored me to the ground when I wanted to remain in the sky. I did not like where he anchored me. I had waited for him so long that when he finally came, the pieces for him to gather together were so small they were just not enough anymore. When I held his hand I no longer trembled, my heart no longer hammered against my chest and that peace was so comforting I wish we both didn’t crave for more. Those days, I was afraid of looking at his eyes to see that familiar look of longing and affection which were no longer mirrored in mine. He didn't care, he was sure that his love was enough to compensate, But it would not be enough, I wanted to tell him. He was making the same mistake I had, falling in love with the idea of loving me. When we were in university I always wished that my love would seep into him so he could at least feel half of what I feel but five years later my feelings did seep out from me and into him, as I had wished, but only this time, it took everything from me. I can still trace when I fell for him but the moment it came undone, I am still not sure of it.

His pov

Now another 5 years later when she sits across from me I yearn to hear that laughter again. To fill the silence, I walk forward and pick up the envelope. As expected it is her wedding card inside. She had messaged me about it, with minimum details about the man she is engaged to, details just enough to ensure I wasn't hurt and to keep our friendship intact. She looks at me expectantly and I smile. I keep the envelope down and sit on the arm of the sofa she is seated on. The rain has resorted to drizzling and I wonder whether it still reminds her of the first time she met me, maybe not. It reminds me of the time we walked to her flat in the rain without an umbrella, laughing all the way at the silliest of things and vowing to never take an umbrella in the rain ever.

I smile and ask,

“Hey remember when we walked all the way to your flat without an umbrella?”

She looks at me, ready to smile or laugh at the ready memory but recognition never reaches her eye and she expectantly looks at me for more information about the story, when she gets none, she suddenly lifts her eyebrows in exclamation and lets out a “yeah” as she looks downwards to cover her lie. She was never a good liar.

The curve of her nose, the curl of her hair, I still love her and she doesn’t. I realize this truth with s deep pain. We are playing catch and catch without ever actually reaching the other. She looks at me as if she knows what I am thinking as if my thoughts are not my own but hers too. Her eyes are again on the brink of tears and I wish I could act surprised at her tearing up but in reality, I wish I was a bit brave to do the same. Instead, I lean forward to do the only thing I can think of doing, I lean forward and press my lips against hers. As I kiss her, glimpses of our past kisses come to my mind, those of desire and of longing, those of deep affection and guilt. But this kiss is all that but none at the same time.

Her Pov

As he leans forward I close my eyes, waiting for his lips against mine. And then so tenderly they brush against mine and the tears I held at the brink for so long pours down, our kiss getting tainted by my tears. It sharply reminds me of the short time when we both felt the same surge of affection towards each other. The kiss is soft and slow as if he is telling me secrets and safekeeping them in my mouth. A kiss not of passion or desire, not of longing or affection, but of closure and farewell. He kisses me so slowly I hardly feel it at all but rather I feel the strong love that he now harbours for me even after five long years. And it takes everything in me to not sob more at the thought. I love him in a way I don't think I have ever loved anyone or ever will, but this love doesn't bear resemblance to what he now feels or what I felt ten years ago. This beautiful man with his brown eyes, I loved him and I always wanted to love him but when the time came, I wouldn't. I couldn't. Like a curse, we can’t love each other at the right time. We break away and rest our foreheads against each other, his eyes still closed. My tears drop and roll down his lips, and lie just as the water droplets did that rainy day and I let out a little laugh. Maybe somewhere in a parallel timeline, we find a way to be together. Maybe there, I am not 5 years too early or he, 5 years too late. 

As if he could hear my thoughts, with his forehead still pressed against mine, he says, “Maybe”.

February 15, 2021 20:13

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12 comments

Sammy Xoxoxo
20:35 Feb 25, 2021

Hey! I really enjoyed this story and the descriptions you worked into it. It was truly beautiful. Here is a suggestion: try and keep your sentences a little shorter. As an example, "He shuffles his feet impatiently, he always fidgets when he is nervous, I sense him glancing at me occasionally but I am too tired to look at him again." I think that the sentence would flow more if you broke it down into 2 or even 3 separate sentences. Maybe, "He shuffles his feet impatiently, and I can sense him glancing at me occasionally. I am too tired to lo...

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Hannah Fathima
08:03 Feb 26, 2021

Thank you so much for this genuine and constructive comment ❤ I will work on that from now on. I am so glad you enjoyed the story :")

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Izzie Q.
22:17 Feb 24, 2021

Hey Hannah! This is a really really amazing story!! You did such a good job and you should be proud! Fabulous first story, I'll totally keep an eye out for more! How was your day?

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Hannah Fathima
05:59 Feb 25, 2021

Heyy Izzie! This comment totally made my day :") thank you so much! My day is going good what about yours?

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Izzie Q.
11:49 Feb 25, 2021

hi!! mine was pretty good!! I'm into zodiacs and this one app I have that does horoscopes and stuff was literally like "you should feel depressed today, it's in the stars" but I'm doing ok! Take THAT, constellations!

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Izzie Q.
11:50 Feb 25, 2021

whats your zodiac?

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Hannah Fathima
18:29 Feb 25, 2021

Wow that is a good day! I am proud of you, horoscope has nothing on you. I am Sagittarius what abt you

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Hannah Fathima
18:29 Feb 25, 2021

Wow that is a good day! I am proud of you, horoscope has nothing on you. I am Sagittarius what abt you

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Izzie Q.
18:32 Feb 25, 2021

haha I'm a capricorn!! BEHOLD THE SEA GOAT!!

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Hannah Fathima
08:03 Feb 26, 2021

Haha😂❤

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Sumit Nain
07:44 Feb 22, 2021

Well that's just too nicely. I myself am a writer and really found this very beautiful.

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Hannah Fathima
18:56 Feb 22, 2021

Thank you so much, Sumit! Means a lot :')

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