“I thought I would never see you again.”
She sat across him, the same serene smile that he remembered from that day years ago. She was older, and her eyes reflected the trials that her path had taken her through. When she emailed him saying that she would be in his city, he didn’t dare to believe it. Then he gave her his phone number, and she called him.
He recognized the voice instantly. They only spoke for a few minutes, but in that time she had arranged to meet him, as well as say a few things about her life now. She had married, and had a son. Her new job involved a lot of travel, so she would be in his city for a few days. Would he like to meet and catch up?
He said no.
She said she understood. She wished him well, and hung up.
He called her back 15 seconds later.
“You are not seeing me again,” she replied mischievously. “You are seeing me again for the first time.”
“I am happy that you decided to meet me.”
“I am too. At first I wasn’t sure but,” he couldn’t finish the sentence.
She didn’t ask for it to be completed. The waiter brought a new pot of tea.
“So… how are you?”
“I am well, thank you.” She sipped her new cup of steaming tea. “You are well?”
“I’m good. I moved here after… when…” he searched for the right words. “I moved here to find myself.”
“You are still searching?”
He thought about the question. The tea was just right. Not scalding, but hot enough to warm his insides. It was a cold day outside. “Yes and no.”
She said nothing, waiting.
He was silent. It wasn’t an awkward silence, though. She’s always had what he believed to be an endless amount of patience, especially for him. She was comfortable with simply being in a place, until she wasn’t there anymore. It unnerved him, initially, but he soon appreciated the trait greatly.
“I know that I’m not complete. I’ve found the beginning of my journey, but I’m not at the end yet.” He paused. “That’s not exactly how I feel, but that’s as close as I can get to describing it right now.”
“You’ve let go of the anchor that held you down in the middle of your journey, and you are now resuming it.” Her voice was quiet but certain. “You gave me the same gift, you know.”
“You let me go. I would have waited for you, but you did not ask me to.”
The thought confused him, but it didn’t feel wrong. “I didn’t know what I was going to do at the time. All I knew was that I was bound to return home. It wouldn’t have been right to ask that of you.”
She just smiled, teacup at her lips. “I was not wrong to love you.”
“There is nothing to be sorry about. We lost nothing, and we are here today.” She shrugged. “Do not regret, my friend. Love is limitless, if you let it be.”
Her phone, resting on the table, warbled a happy tune. A picture of a young boy was on the screen. “My son,” she said, picking up the phone.
Just as she started to speak, his phone also bleeped. His boss. She nodded. He picked up his phone as stepped away to take the call.
She had just finished her tea when he got back to the table.
“I have to go.”
“I know.” She stood up. “It’s been settled,” she said, indicating the little tray with a generous tip. “Thank you for being here.”
After a moment of hesitation, he stepped into her and hugged her tightly. She reciprocated.
“This will not be the last time, I hope?” he said into her ear.
“Until next time then.”
They parted ways, and resumed their journeys.
“… you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something.”
The response to the first part of the Serial Killer exercise is here.
Thank you to Neil Gaiman, who said: “Finish the things you start to write. Do it a lot and you will be a writer. The only way to do it is to do it.”