On his left side, her specter walked beside him into his favorite small breakfast restaurant. With his fiancee’ clinging to his right hand, he headed to a cozy table for two in the corner beside a wide glass window overlooking the enormous centennial trees of the neighborhood. There was a biting but refreshing winter breeze, which tickled his skin even inside the warm restaurant.
A polite waiter brought them the menus and left. He had a wide smile on his face while he skimmed through the pages that have been carved into his head along the years. His fiancee’ mustn’t see the specter beside him.
– “Are you ok?”
His heart sank. So engrossed in his own thoughts that for a second he confused the sounds in his head with the real voice checking on him from across the table. He shrugged his shoulders with the meaningless smile still on his face, scared if he speaks his voice will give him away.
– “OK. You just seem distracted or distant. Just checking,” she said, then looked back in her menu.
He turns his eyes back to his as well.
He will probably order his eggs and ham.
“I will miss you!”
– “Excuse me?!”
– “I didn’t say anything.”
Awkward silence! Quickly, he puts on a silly smile and look away.
– “No worries, thought you said something.”
– “I will miss you too!” He wasn’t sure if he was having a whole new conversation with the spectre sitting on the window rail beside him or if he was just recalling their last dialogue.
Yesterday, she looked so hurt. He wasn’t sure why, though. Everything was clear from the beginning. They knew where they were heading since the very minute they decided to go down that road. They knew their passion was not born to last; they knew that this was just about it. They agreed; yes everything was agreed upon, she shouldn’t be frustrated. But why is he then?
Something dropped inside his chest and his heart started racing after it, the minute she walked into his office.
– “That’s it?” He wasn’t sure if he was asking or stating.
– “Yeah,” She nodded. “It’s time to go.” Her eyes were piercing like she could see through him. He felt vulnerable.
– “Ok- I guess it’s goodbye then,” he said with a sheepish smile trying to fence off the daggers of tension in the air.
He moved around his desk, put his hands on her shoulders, looked into her eyes and said:
– “I wish we could’ve met tomorrow but she has already planned the entire day.”
Her mouth tilted with sarcasm. She extended her hand formally;
– “We don’t want to ruin her weekend plans of course! Well, we have to say goodbye now then,” she said. “Take care and I wish you the best my friend.”
He never took her hand.
– “Why are you talking as if we will never speak or meet again?” He was shocked. He knew she had to go, but was she giving him up completely? Are they not going to be friends again, ever?
– “It’s obvious I do not think so.”
– “Yes, we will. You are my best friend.”
-“I am not sure about that.”
– “What do you mean you are not sure about that?” He moved nervously around the room and ran his fingers through his hair, took a deep breath, then looked at her, through her, tried to evoke anything in her and said with a sigh:
– “Alright. Please don’t do this to me. You know, I … am in love with you.”
She raised an eyebrow and kept her silence.
– “C’mon. You know I have always been.”
– “Then what about her?”
– “I don’t KNOW!” He screamed it out.
Her tear-strangled stare ripped through him. She knew, he never lied, never promised, this was not the agreement.
– “Listen, we both knew where this was going. We agreed.”
– “Agreed?! well fine- you are a businessman. As far as I can see the scope of work has changed completely from the one we agreed upon.”
She stopped. He couldn’t say anything. He couldn’t reciprocate her looks.
– “But you do not have to worry, I am not going to charge you more. Although the cost was much more than I estimated,” she added sarcastically.
– “Oh! Please do not talk like that.”
– “How do you want me to talk then?! What do you want me to say? You do not even want to upset her by spending the last weekend you’ve got with your best friend! Isn’t it funny that this has become as much as I could opt for now?! You have dragged me so low.”
– “Please don’t say that, stop it, don’t spoil the last few moments…”
– “It’s all my bad again.. as it has always been and always will be..”
– “I don’t know what to do..”
– “Really?! There is nothing I can do about that.”
Silence was a heavy guest in the room. He was standing with his back to her but he could taste the tears rolling down her cheeks.
– “I’ve got to go now. Goodbye.”
– “Wait, I will try. I promise. I will call tomorrow.”
Hope glimmered in her eyes for a fraction of a second, and then she was broken again.
– “Take care.”
– “So what are we doing today?!”
He was startled when his fiancee’ brought him back from yesterday. Nothing. He should take her home, leave, and call the best friend he’s ever had and ever will.
– “Whatever you want, sweetie,” he smiled.
The spectre looked him up and down with disgust and disappeared. And so did she…