I did wonder, what if I said yes? What if I took a risk for the nth time? What if? what if? huh. I can already picture what I would wear, where we’d go and what we’d do.
I would spend my remaining time watching youtube videos because the interview for our research paper was cancelled, then at 5pm I would wash my face and put on my skincare. I would ruin my neatly piled clothes looking for that white v-neck shirt because I tend to loose that one often even though I almost always wear it. I would grab whatever denim shorts laying on top because even if I’m usually uncomfortable wearing shorts going out, I’m too lazy to wear skin tight jeans that requires strength when I try to put them on. Then I’ll pick up my denim jacket from the hanger and sit on my dresser. I’ve decided to skip putting make up but when I look at my face again, I’ll pick up my concealer. Yes, maybe just a little bit of it. I’ll apply the most natural shade of lippie and put very light blush on. You’ll text me you’re almost at my house so I’ll hurriedly put on my slip-on shoes and comb my hair quickly because really, what else could I do to my hair? I’ll hear you honk your horn outside, then I’ll call over my mom and tell her you’re here to pick me up. I’ll be halfway outside the door when I remember I hadn’t put on my perfume yet, so I’ll go back to my dresser then spray some. My mom will have that surprise look on her face but she’ll have no time to ask questions, nor do I have the ability to answer them. So I just tell her, I’ll be home before midnight, she doesn’t have to wait up. When I turn around, you already got out of your car, you say hi to my mom and tell her you’ll just take me home after. That it’s only dinner, catching up you know. Then you’ll open the car door for me, I’ll try so hard not to smile but to keep my face neutral. I have to keep it cool, its been 4 years after all, I better not look too eager or too happy or too anything. It’s just a friendly dinner. you know, catching up.
Before you can say anything, I’ll put on my seat belt so you don’t have to explain to me the rules and all the least significant things you could say that night. We’re quiet for a moment, you driving and me just looking straight ahead. My hands are itching to get my phone from my bag, to text my best friend what the freaking hell I’m doing but I can’t ruin the silence. I will not bring his attention to my phone because what if his own phone lights up? what if someone calls him? I will not be able to stay trapped in that small space of a car and listen to him talk to someone else, reminding me he has another life. A life I haven’t been part of for the last 4 years. So I will just sit there, concentrating on my breathing and tiptoeing from the tension. No longer than 10 minutes, you will break the silence just like you broke your promises. You will look at me, then smile. That gorgeous smile you thought I would fall for again, you will ask me how’s it been, what I’m up to. I’ll tell you I’m good, and I’m graduating. Finally. Then I’ll ask you where we’re going, you’ll describe me the dishes of that new favorite restaurant of yours. You’ll tell me you’ve been craving to eat there again so would it be alright to go? then I’ll say of course, you’ve already sold me out with all that description.
We’ll have a good time at your favorite restaurant, I would end up liking the dishes even if it’s a Filipino cuisine. Maybe because it was shared over a great conversation or maybe they’re really just an amazing restaurant like you said it is. You’ll ask me what now?, I’ll tell you let’s go watch the movie I’ve been dying to go see. It’s that midnight murder train movie, or something. I’ll tell you that I wanna watch it on its last full show at the cinema, then you’ll agree with me. The movie will live up to my expectations, and I will be so happy that night. You’ll tell me we’ll go find some desserts because the ending of the movie deserves it. It’s already 10 p.m., most places nearby are closed, I’ll tell you maybe it’s a sign that we should go home, then you’ll insist that no it’s gonna be our challenge to find one tonight. You’ll ask me what do you think? Then I’ll smile at you, and you’ll smile at me.
Off we go, driving endlessly looking for the perfect dessert place to end the night. We’ll finally find a cafe located at the mountainous part of the city. It’s a cold night the stars are still visible. I’ll choose the table outside the cafe because it offers a better view of the city lights and the beautiful sky above. I’ll be looking at you through the glass wall while you stand in line to get our orders. I’ll be looking at you like it’s the last time I’ll see you.
We’ll sit silently but it will be different this time. It’s a nice kind of silence. It will be like we have a lifetime to waste not talking. But it’s nice, really nice. You’ll drive me home, you’ll stop the car a few blocks from our apartment. You’ll tell me you had a good time, that you missed me, that you wish we could do it again. I’ll tell you me too. We’ll look at each other, then you’ll come close, so close that I could feel you breathe.
So close like you’re gonna kiss me. Of course you’ll try to kiss me. We had so much history together that a platonic relationship is as good as nothing. And maybe in another story, I would’ve let you. But that’s just silly of me to think that. No matter how much I think, and think, and think again about the possibility of what it would be like if I said yes when you asked to see me a week ago. It still would’ve ended with me alone in my bed nursing a never ending pain. Because I know deep down, that no matter how perfect that night could’ve gone, it’s only a millisecond over another 10 or more years of your absence.
Yes, I may regret saying no for another 2 weeks or so, but I would not regret sparing myself from this heartache that you so badly wanna cause. I may have loved you longer than I should, but I have learned to choose myself. So excuse me for regretting saying no, excuse me for saving myself.