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Hopes and Heartaches

A better ending for a gloomy beginning

“Only if you know how to."

I heard that as I saw him wipe those tears away. I stopped dead in my tracks momentarily forgetting why I was in that empty hallway again. I longingly watched his back disappear into the men’s room with drooping shoulders, seemingly carrying the weight of the world. Could a heart become whole and crumble into pieces all at the same time over and over?

It’s been what? Two or three months? I’ve lost track already. All I remember clearly was that one fateful evening when it had all began.

7 PM. It was starting to rain, and I was in a hurry, not wanting to get caught in the downpour. Clumsy as I always was, I bumped into him unknowingly.

“I’m so sorry. I wasn’t looking. I was—” I stammered. I stammer a lot when I’m nervous.

“It’s fine. I wasn’t paying attention too.” He whispered with such a warm smile while holding a phone close to his ear.

“No, I’m not in a hurry to get home to you. I mean it’s raining and the traffic. Hassle.”, he said towards the phone in a much louder voice thoroughly exaggerating. “It’s rush hour. I’d be bumping into innocent strangers if I hurry. I’ll take my time here and let you miss me more.” He gave me a polite nod smiling from ear to ear and walked, no, more like ran towards the exit.

You’ll know a man happily in love when you see one. You’ll know too how desolate they become when that love is lost.

Every single day since that rainy evening, I found myself going home almost at the same time, passing by the same corridor, hoping to see the same man. What harm could there be? Grown women can have innocent crushes too, right? Women can admire men who love so dearly. Besides, I was just a distant audience. I had no intention whatsoever to ruin his happiness.

I wish I had stopped earlier, though. I wish I had stopped going home at 7 PM trying to bump him again or come so close as brushing our shoulders as we pass by each other. I wish I didn’t see the depressing change that came over him. I wish I didn’t become an unwanted witness when he wipes his tears in silence. I wish I didn’t know that I cared more than I’d like to admit.

It hurts when I see him crying over another woman, but it hurts more when I don’t see him at all. Makes no sense right? Sounds pathetic too. But that’s just the truest truth I can give.

Three months and one day. My insanity has lasted longer than I expected. The clock ticked and chimed the seventh hour, and I still find myself in the corridor lingering.

7:30 PM. I already had a long conversation with a friend over the phone, yet I don’t see even a shadow of him.

7:45 PM I talked to my sister and told her to come fetch me fast. Then I would be forced to go home and stop waiting here like an idiot.

8 PM. My sister was stuck in traffic. I sighed in abject defeat. I think it’s about time I give up, completely. No waiting in empty corridors anymore.

I pulled myself together and willed myself to walk towards the exit. I heard footsteps from behind, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything anymore. I just wanted to go home fast and cry.

“Hey, wait.” I glanced back and saw him. I looked on both sides of the corridor wondering if he’s calling for another. No one was there but us.

He came in front of me a little breathless as if he was in a hurry he had to run. Then out of the blue, he bumped my shoulder deliberately.

“Sorry, I was late.”

Then he walked out suppressing a smile.

Could a heart crumble to pieces and be whole again all at the same time?

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