It seemed like memories could fade away just as quickly as they came. But I didn’t know that until he was right there in front of me. I had forgotten. The time we spent together faded like a flower that wilts and dies. The truth was hard to admit considering how close we had been.
I once loved him. And this is my story.
Sunday morning came just as quickly as weekends go. I could only think of the week ahead with its bustling work schedule, the loud chime of clocks ticking, and the crowd of people getting to and from wherever they were heading. I was one of them it seemed. I sipped my cup of steaming coffee enjoying the aroma of the bitter, tangy taste and the slosh of liquid rolling around on my tongue. As I leaned in to eat my crunchy baked bagel in the WILKIN's Cafe, a woman yelled out a name which sounded eerily familiar. “Rudy Loffer? Order 105, pickup!” My head snapped to my left to a young man in a blue tie and professional suit walking stoically to the counter. The woman calling out his name paused, straightened her shoulders, and tucked a curly strand away from her face. She smiled with her bright red lips, politely handing his order out to him. He was impressive, anyone could see that. Just as he turned, our eyes locked. A shiver ran down my spine — I realized who this man was. He was a friend of mine in high school who I fell for, yet he never seemed to care about me. He was always chasing someone else, who I could never measure up to. His posture shifted that he seemed like a normal old bloke, but this was only for a second. Rudy’s eyes lifted from my face and he smirked just as he headed out the door. Not much had changed in his attitude, but his body build was definitely more manly and it seemed Rudy was no longer a boy.
Today was supposed to be a big day. The tie and suit was freshly cleaned, steamed, and was ready to be worn. My girlfriend loved blue and somehow I felt a sense of regret in my stomach. I was dating this girl for 5 years and met her in Regional High School because my mom liked her. High school seemed like a blur with the people, the stress, and mixed feelings with friendships. And my girlfriend was one of them. Somehow I felt tied to her but wanting to be free. How long could I handle this? When would I give up? When I entered the coffee shop grabbing two coffees, one for me and then hers, I saw a girl with long golden brown locks and a casual smile dancing on her lips. A memory hit me long enough to lock eyes. It was in her eyes, her smile, and the way she acted towards people. I was always too embarrassed to ask her out, she seemed to be too good for me. She was too good for me. I remembered her, Lucy. I never asked her because I didn’t want to be better, I was stuck. Why should I have dragged her down with me? But I should have tried for her, but I was too weak. I walked out the door stumbling to my car. A tiny whisper in my head kept repeating, ‘ask her out, ask her out.’ I shook my head grabbing my phone looking at the text messages from someone I never didn’t love. This was my time to be brave, to stop wasting her time. My phone buzzed and rung until a voice answered.
“This isn’t going to work,” I paused telling her the truth, “I’m sorry.” I needed time, but first, I was going back inside.
“Hey, I’m Rudy.” I looked up seeing his charming face in front of my table.
“Hey.” There was nothing I could say. Not yet. “Can I sit at your table?” I nodded feeling slightly uncomfortable with my frizzy hair and lack of any professional clothing. But it was just me, and I have to be okay with that.
We talked for a long time, it was nice. We talked about relationships, midterms of college, things we even aspired to. There was a moment when I felt not so alone anymore. But I had
D one question, more than any other, I had to ask. “Rudy. There’s a question I have for you.” He nodded, “Yeah, of course. Go ahead.” A smile lined his face and I could tell he wanted to go out again. “Well, what I really want to ask you is—” His voice jumped in front of mine. “Will you go on an actual date with me?” I was taken aback. I was not ready for this. I shook my head, “You have to answer my question.” I took a breath, “What do you care about the most?” Confusion spread across his face and he shrugged, “I don’t know.”
He didn’t know. I kept repeating that in my head. What about his family, his old girlfriend, or his mom? But no, nothing. No sadness, no happiness, nothing to strive for. This made my mind up in a split second. “Then, no. I really don’t want to waste my time. It was nice meeting you... again.” There was nothing that tied me to him. It was like he was trying to be someone he wasn’t.
“Wait, Lucy, please.” Why now? I had my reasons to say no. I knew myself enough to know what was worth my time. This was precisely what I wanted to avoid. Because I knew he didn’t care.
I was something to chase.
“No, Rudy. Goodbye.” I got up from my seat about to leave. I saw the waiter girl from the counter with her gaping lips parted in surprise staring at Rudy.
He could chase her.
Story written by Aubrey Maria