Strangers with a couple memories

Submitted into Contest #174 in response to: Write about two old friends meeting for the first time in years.... view prompt

4 comments

Friendship Contemporary Inspirational

As much a stranger as any one person on the subway. Still the memories radiate the familiarity of her eyes. Just like that I felt myself within the comfort of those eyes. Just like that my body forgets how to behave or rather if it should behave. It’s been years now. Even so, the rip in my memories remains unfulfilled. 

She looks away as if all those years had never occurred. 

She finds a seat by the window. Puts headphones in her ears and looks away. 

I walk down the aisle and weakly whisper a ‘hey’ when I pass by her row. She ignores my greeting just like all the vulnerability in my texts. I sit by her. Because she doesn’t own the row. 

I tap on her shoulder as I watch her reflection in the window fall into a frown. She asks me what I want. I tell her nothing, only that I simply wanted to say hi. 

We both know that was false. Nonetheless, we both fuel the silence. She un-pauses her music and I increase the volume in my thoughts. 

Suddenly she’s inside my head all over again. Like she was all those years ago. Forgetting how I spent the last decades of my life without her. When did I learn to breathe without her? When did I learn how to live again? 

The tired gray faces of the crowd portrayed the reality of the situation as I moved from my home into a city abroad. Unfamiliar and uncertain as to where my future lied. She stood before me, her face the grayest of them all. She certainly didn’t like my arrival into her country. She despised my arrival almost as much as she hated me. 

Slowly, however, she became my acquaintance. We uncovered similarities towards hatreds. We nurtured hatred and managed to find peace within ourselves. It didn’t take long before our relationship grew into one molded by the hands of perfection. We shared the longest of talks, in the safety of our minds. Grew days which portrayed life to be an imagination.  

Still, infinity comes to an end. Just like all things humane. Just like the happiest moments result in the most painful endings. Those are the ones which lack closure. She’d left subtly without purpose or meaning. Terminating such a meaningful thing for no given reason whatsoever. 

As I began posing such questions which incriminated myself into being guilty. 

I deserve an explanation. I deserve it. 

I tap her shoulder once more, with more intensity this time. 

“What?”

I look into her eyes, they look tired and fallen. They differentiate from the pair which I knew so well in the past. Which were filled with curiosity and passion. This stranger’s eyes are filled with sadness and pain. Almost as if the preview of youth had ended. Almost as if these eyes were the ones hidden away under her happiness the entire time. 

I ask her where I went wrong. She looks over at me for what seems like forever. She’s thinking of what to say. I watch as her eyes examine my face, in search for an emotion, one in which she can base her explanation upon. Because I know her too well, I offer none. Not because she would pity me if she found the sadness in my heart, but because I don’t want to show her the pain she’s inflicted upon me. So I sit there, emotionless. 

Without a word, she turns back around yearning for the world outside the window. 

“You owe me an explanation.” 

She says she doesn’t believe I do. She tells me I know exactly what went wrong. 

Because I do. But I never believed it was enough to end such a friendship. 

“We don’t talk for a couple months and it all ends?” I cry, as I feel myself gaining an audience. 

She presses resume back on her music once more. 

I watch as my words evaporate within the air. Along with all my attempts to piece back together what I believed for so long to be my wrongdoings. However, for the first time I don’t believe it was I with the faults, rather she. Only because there’s no one else to blame, and I won’t accept the fact that nature allows such a beautiful thing to vanish. 

I wait in silence for my stop. 

I watch as the mass of color transitions into individual bricks as the train slows down. 

I wait till the very last second. In hope she might say any last parting words. Any at all. 

It’s no surprise when she doesn’t.

I drag my feet up the stairs until I find myself on ground level once again. 

“We stopped talking months before that. The words we spoke were simple and common. Our true words were hidden for far too many months.” 

I turn around to face her, as I watch her previous expression of fatigue turn into that of pain and suffer. Camouflaging within her eyes. 

She takes another step towards me and explains to me how sometimes people fall apart. Nobody's at fault. Nobody deserved it, nonetheless, we were victims to it. 

We are now foreign to one another. No time will retrieve back those smiles we’d bring to each other’s faces. We live different lives and are driven by different aspects of lives. 

I watch as tears form in her eyes when she says the words:

“You’ll always be my best friend.” 

And she walks away. 

Emerges back into her life, with her people, her career, her passions. They don’t include me. And that’s okay. I don’t chase after her, begging her to make this work. Forcing something that cannot revive. 

I will love her from afar, in hope that she lives the best life possible. In desire that those old days will never be forgotten, that they propel her to fulfill this amazing person which she is. 

I watch her silhouette dissolve within the horizon, just another stranger as any one person on the subway. 

November 29, 2022 03:15

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4 comments

Edward Latham
20:05 Dec 04, 2022

Very sad, but lovely writing Greta!

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Greta Bonati
20:12 Dec 04, 2022

Thank you, I appreciate it!

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Mike Panasitti
02:49 Dec 07, 2022

This was very heartfelt, and, perhaps, very personal. It would've been nice if there had been at least one flash back illuminating why the girl listening to the music is so special. Maybe revealing this in a few lines of dialogue would've been sufficient to give us that missing glimpse. But overall, a valiant story, set in a city that can sometimes drain the courage from a person if they're not careful.

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Greta Bonati
15:19 Dec 07, 2022

I really appreciate your comment, thank you for your feedback, it's something to think about for my future stories. Thanks as well for reading my story.

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