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Yes, I think we've met before

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God, that was strange to see you again, introduced by a friend of a friend. You smiled our little secret and said, “Yes, I think we’ve met before.” And in that instant it started to pour. Instinctively, without thoughts and without words, we ran for cover. Our feet were in sync as we splashed across the avenue. It all felt so natural, I squealed a little as you kicked up some puddles, you held the door open as I rushed in, you followed after and there we were. In that fateful coffee shop of so long ago. Except this time it was 6 years later, I had seen my share of the world, and you were working that 5 o’clock shadow. You and I both were trying to conjure up words – these secrets and confessions we had been keeping on our tongues. I was dreadfully scared you would mention the weather. The sunshine and the rain and the hail... that's for people who have grown apart and now don't know the first things about each other. Hesitating, we blocked the doorway, with our teeth chattering and our hair dripping and our minds whirring with polaroids of the past – our past. And next came the move that I should have expected. For the three thousandth time in my life, you flashed that lopsided smile at me, and right on cue, my insides thawed. It was as if the band had struck up the foxtrot and you had held out your hand. You, leading, sure as always, then me, twirling after you. Blindly following your strides with no intentions of stopping. In actuality, you simply took the first step out of the doorway and into the café. But that first step is always the biggest challenge, isn’t it? Of course I traced your steps exactly. Everything after that folded right into place. There was some kind of rhythm to our path, some muscle memory. Was it really you who headed toward that particular window seat, or was it just your limbs doing as they remembered? Was it really me who told the barista, “Two double shot macchiatos and a muffin top to share, please,” or was that just programmed into my system? And then it was like no time had ever passed. I could almost imagine I was in my old school skirt. I could almost imagine I was 16 and whole. You can’t deny that you felt it too. You could almost imagine you had never broken a heart. You could almost imagine you had never walked out of my life. You gave me a look so tender and familiar, it nearly broke my heart again. Yes, for a dozen silent moments, we were teenagers in love. Loosely translated, we were on top of the world. But the secret about the top of the world, the summit of life, the ecstasy of first love, is that in no time at all, you have to come back down. Sometimes you find a ladder to safely climb down. Sometimes you both slide down together. And sometimes you get pushed. Funny, isn’t it, how we both remembered at the same time. Your gaze went from soft to alert. Something clicked, and our walls put themselves back up. Even the single moms club and the strangely fit couple in the jogging apparel at the next tables could sense the snapping of our comfortable silence. Nostalgia can disappear real fast when reality arrives and sets up camp. And the truth is this: no number of muffin tops or years spent pretending can scrub away the dirt of a ruined dream. Fact is, you pushed me. Fact is, I fell. Fact is, I never stopped falling. Slowly but surely, we raised our eyes and our drinks. And -cheers- we drank to that.

Mid-sip, he murmured, "I seem to recall, you always did have a thing for rainy afternoons."

Yes, we drank to falling in love and falling apart.





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