Finally, the day I’ve been dreading was here and there was nothing I could have done to halt the dawn ebbing its gradual way into daylight. Was I really dreading this day or looking forward to it? I am not sure. Everything feels hazy since the day I agreed to meet him, my ex, for a cup of coffee.
“Just to talk and catch up! Only if you are free and fine with it,” he had said when I received an unexpected call from him.
I was still trying to convince myself that I had agreed to this meeting, as my car rolled into the parking lot around the corner of the café. After killing the engine I did not make any efforts to get out of the car. I scanned the surrounding for his familiar face, perhaps for the hundredth time before I decided to step out of the car. I collected my purse from the dash and made my way into the café before I could change my mind.
Walking into the café I find myself a cosy spot by the window. I sit there looking out into the bright blue sky that was slowly giving way to large grey clouds threatening rain. Echoing my emotions, there was an intense anxiety to the rain that started slowly by tapping against the window then picking up speed, as if between the tumbling cloud and the earth it was fearful of never reaching its destination. A gush of wind blows in carrying with it droplets of rain as more and more people rush into the café trying to escape from the pelting rain. The next time I feel the water soaked breeze graze across my face, I look towards the entrance just in time to see him running into the café. He stood by the door scanning the room trying to find me amidst the crowd.
The drubbing beat of my pulse resonated in my ears and my heart began to race the moment I saw him standing by the door. My throat suddenly goes dry and I feel it constricting as if choking me out of my breath.
Why did he still have this effect on me?
That was a question I have been unable to find an answer for! I take a sip of water and stand up just as he started to move in my direction.
It was odd at first, do we shake hands or do we hug? I waited for the gesture to come from him. We settled for an awkward hello and sat down. I noticed that he ordered his usual of chocolate chip frappuccino with a generous helping of whipped cream on top while I decided to go with hazelnut coffee.
I try not to observe the hollows that have formed around his cheeks or the craters that have found their way to his eyes. The fact that he had lost a lot of weight does not bother me and I continue to tell myself that the missing sparkles in his eyes are not of my concern. The tar between his fingers which is an obvious result of the cigarette that has found its way back into his life is his problem, not mine! Yet somewhere at the back of mind there was an urge to reach out and stroke his face, to caress the hollow that have formed on his cheeks, to run my fingers again though his hair. I silence my mind before it starts building up on the hope.
“Thank you for meeting with me! How have you been doing?” he asks looking into my eyes.
“You’re welcome!” I reply smiling.
“When did you get so formal? And to answer your question, I am doing well, thank you!”
He laughs at my little joke.
“Three years, is it? Since we met?” I ask.
“Yes! Three years, 2 months and 16 days, but who’s counting?” he answers sheepishly.
I smile at his response. “So?”
“Again, thank you for agreeing to meet with me, I can’t thank you enough.”
“OK, what’s going on? Was there a reason you wanted to meet?”
“Umm…yeah! I mean, yes, there is something, I wanted to let you know that I was moving to Switzerland for good. ”
“Switzerland? Europe?” I ask.
“Yes! I got an excellent offer and I have accepted it!”
I felt as though a red hot iron rod just pierced into my heart, but I showed no emotions on my face. It has been three years and he has every right to do what he wants with his life. He has every right to move on! So what if we were married for a decade, so what if we were both struggling to move on for the past three years?
I smile at him through moist eyes and barely manage to say “Congratulations!”
I take a deep breath, look outside at the pouring rain to contain myself before asking “Is it the same company you always wanted to get into?” it takes all my energy to stop me from breaking down.
I remind myself that it was his unpredictability and his selfishness that drove us apart in the first place. If this is what makes him happy, then so be it. I feel as though the walls of the café were closing in on me and I needed to get out of there.
I stood up abruptly, held my hand out to him and said “Congratulations once again! I wish you all the best! Ummmm…I need to leave now; I have an appointment that I am getting late for! So, umm, I will text you later for the details, yeah?” I shook hands with him before dashing out the door to my car. I did not turn back to look at him lest he see my tear-stained face.
Rain and tears mingle on my face, salty tracks blending into the fresh sky-fallen trickles as I rushed out the café to get into my car. The only indication of sadness comes from the redness in my eyes whereas my face hardens itself to blot out any sign of the torrid ocean of emotions I was feeling within. There is a heaviness to my heart that was absent when I had I walked into the café, in just a few blocks it will be replaced with a hollow emptiness.
He sat there staring at her abrupt departure, with a smirk on his face. He almost said aloud “mission accomplished!”
At the very least, this should prompt her to move on! He thought to himself.
It was best for her to move on; he had nothing left in his life to give her. His life that the cancer was eating away would soon come to an abrupt halt just like their meeting!
This here, this meeting was the best thing he could do for her!