While breathing out warm air on my hands, rubbing them together after, I stand across the other end of a pedestrian lane, waiting for the red man to turn green. The holiday season has passed already but the coldness in the damp wind still remains, much noticeable now the sun has already set and dark skies start to dominate. As the color change, I rapidly cross the street with almost running pace and maintaining the brisk walk when I pass the front of a café, inadvertently glancing at the person sitting alone in the shop front stool, with a cup of coffee in his hand.
Feeling a familiar sensation, I stop on my tracks, weighing the options of whether to face him or to walk away like the year ago. It took a lot of courage before I wave my hands through the full-height glass window which made him look at my direction, sending a surprised look but immediately changes to a slight smile that went straight to give warmth to my cheeks.
Simply watching how he sips his coffee while sitting beside him provide enough heat for me to finally feel my hands after the cold travel, shaking my head in refusal to his offer to order something warm for me. Minutes after a short conversation on how we’ve been and exchanging laughs caused by the holiday song playing in the background, he insists in heading out of the place to accompany me on the way home, bringing along his unfinished drink.
Beside one another, we walk our way along the busy street, passing several boutique of some sort and pointing at everything we deem interesting in spite of the familiarity. As if on instinct, he lightly nudges my left arm the way he always does whenever we reach the music store down the end of the block, making a swift move to go in. Looking at him inside through the window, not bothering to follow him, occupied in checking the latest releases section with the cup of half-consumed coffee still in hand, I thought to myself on how this feels like back then, like nothing has changed at all. I turn my head away from him in attempt to brush off the pointless thoughts and the extreme guilt that is starting to build-up like the traffic in sight. I rub my hands together again to create immediate warmth to fight the cold, not sure if caused by the night breeze or a body’s response to what is in thought. He comes out not too long after, tapping my shoulder, throwing the presumably empty cup in the trash.
I walk ahead, convincing myself that what it was for the best, looking up as I come across the staircase to the bridge. Having a night walk with him after a year sends back the memory of when we used to take the same route, looking back to see him in deep thoughts with hands inside the pockets of his coat. I decide to stop myself from walking further, only to doubt the decision again when we are only a few inches away from each other. Like he suddenly came back from a daydream, he lifts his head up to let our eyes meet, breathing sharply through my nose, unable to control the fast-racing pulse. With close distance, witnessing the longing in his eyes, I utter, “I missed you,” without hesitation. Maybe now is not the rightest situation to say such words, if I really have the right to say it at all, but the small curve that formed his lips as he break our gaze is making me think otherwise.