I walk through the campus lost in following the smoke coming out of my coffee plastic cup. Smoke has always fascinated me … millions of shapes are formed. I can just paint whatever picture I want with my eye and the smoke would be my brush. This time, it is a ghost chased by a butterfly. “Hi!” I suddenly stop before hitting the light blue t-shirt I find just an inch away from my hot coffee. I raise my eyes to the face above the t-shirt to see you. I freeze for a few moments. You … after almost a year?! I examine your features that I last saw at the very same place we are standing in right now. Your forehead became wider. You were always concerned about getting bald despite my assurance to you that I like bald men. The same thick eyebrows that I used to tease you that you need a brush to comb. The same smiling, tiny eyes with a friendly light in them. How much I loved them! How warm I felt seeing the reflection of my eyes in them! Your nose always tempted me to pull it even in the middle of our serious talks. Your mouth … your smile that it seemed engraved on your lips the day you were born. You never lost your smile. You taught me to smile at my pain… my worries and my fears. Your cheeks lost some of their roundness which gave you sharper features that contradicted the peaceful expression in your eyes.
This moment… I’ve been waiting for this moment for almost a year imagining what kind of reaction I would have. For a whole long year I’ve been looking for your face in people’s faces in the campus… in the streets. I’ve been turning my head whenever I see a car that resembles yours. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy with starting a masters degree, drowning at work, and indulging in endless activities. But nothing helped! In the middle of my exams, I would just think of you and my heart would start beating so hard that I raise my sight off the answering pamphlet and look at the open door fooling myself that I’d find you there just to find an empty space. In the middle of my meetings with clients I would just examine my cell phone every now and then hoping I’d find a missed call or a message from you. For countless times, I passed by our favorite spot by the fountain where we used to talk, laugh and fight. It is where we ended it all as well. A faint smile would bitterly be drawn on my curled mouth looking at two apparitions leaning at each others whispering words none could understand but their own hearts. For so many long, sleepless nights I thought of this moment; how my heart would beat so hard that you would know how much I am still in love with you. How blushed my face would be that my affection for you would be scandalously exposed once you lay your eyes on me. How my hands would shiver in yours when we shake hands telling you about every cold second of yearning, of longing, of torture I’ve spent away from you.
“You remember me, don’t you?” You say it this time with a wider smile. I smile in return and say “of course I do! Hi!” “How are you doing, dear?” You warmly inquire. I look straight in your eyes and say: “I’m good. How is life treating you?” You laugh and raise your eyebrows while saying: “life keeps me running all the time that’s why I lost weight. Isn’t it better?” You say it while looking for any rising interest in my eyes but I just laugh silently and shrug while saying: “if it is better for you, then it definitely is.” You sense the indifferent tone of my voice, however, you joke: “won’t you invite me to coffee? I miss our cafeteria’s awful, tasteless coffee.” I smile and put an apologizing look on my face while murmuring: “I am sorry! I really have to run now. Maybe some other time…” I see that understanding look in your eyes before you say: “Some other time then. Will see you around, dear. Was great bumping into you. Take a good care of yourself.” I move away while waving among my words: “I will.”
I walk away without looking back. I know you are still standing there… looking at me. I keep going on. I put my hand on the left side of my chest and find my heart beating normally. I touch my face and find my temperature natural. I raise my hand before my eyes and find it stable. I smile at the realization … that it is raining. My smile grows wider when I just raise my face to welcome the young rain drops on my longing skin. I exhale happily and think how wrong I was … and how fortunate I am for being able to smile again … to breathe again.