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The Perfect “Date”
It happened one warm summer’s day. I was walking alone on the campus walk of our alum mater when, from the corner of my eye, I saw someone who looked a lot like you.
He was walking along the inside of the student centre, and did not notice me watching him from outside. For a moment, I considered pretending to “accidently” bump into him to see if it was you or not. But in the end, I just didn’t have the courage to do that because if it really was someone else, I would probably die of embarrassment.
Even if it was you, what good would it have done me? Sure we used to be really close and inseparable, and yes, I still think back to the day when we were supposed to say our goodbyes but never got the chance to. And of course, I sometimes wonder: what if I hadn’t slept in? How would that day have turned out? After mulling it over in my head for a while, and taking into account the kind of people we were back then, I think I know exactly how the day would have gone.
We would meet up at Kerson Hall on campus, and arriving at around the same time we would spot each other almost immediately and wave as we approach one another. The hall itself would seem almost empty as it was the weekend, and except for the few students who were glued to their laptops, and not paying attention to much else.
I would have my long hair in a thick, braid and wear a pink cardigan over a plain, white sundress with sandals, while you would be in a white collared t-shirt, jeans and sneakers.
When we find ourselves standing right in front of each other, you would smile and tell me that I look nice and I would say the same to you before we set off.
We would choose to go to the park to see the cherry blossoms, and to get there, we’d have to take the train down, which gave us plenty of time to talk about the interesting but random things that pop into our heads.
Once we arrive at the park, we would spend all day together, just the two of us. Can you imagine? Just walking around the flower gardens, and crossing little bridges, and even climbing up the thick, old trees, just to see for ourselves how many people are also here to admire the cherry blossoms.
And even though you love taking pictures, and are fully aware that I hate cameras and pictures, we would still have a bit of fun as you would try to snap pictures of me when you thought I wasn’t paying attention. Eventually you would succeed, but only because I let you win.
But as the day drew closer to its end, and start to get dark and windier, the earlier mellowness would slowly start to disappear.
It would end with the two of us leaning against the railings, and looking out as far across the pond as we can to get a better view.
Then out of nowhere I would say your name aloud to get your attention, so that I could tell you that I really like you. You would laugh and reply that the feeling is mutual.
“No…I mean that I think I’m really falling for you,” I would say before closing my eyes, and leaning in to try and kiss you.
You would take one look at my face before quickly realizing that I was serious. Your grin would then slowly fade as you push me away.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel the same way,” you’d say. “I care about you a lot, but just not in that way. You’re a good friend of mine…in fact, one of my best friends, and you’re like a little sister to me.”
“Oh…” I would reply, as my face gradually gets red, while tears start welling in my eyes until I can no longer hold them in. “I don’t understand, I saw this coming, so why am I crying?” I would sob.
As I stand there, crying my eyes out like some little kid, you would stay by my side without moving. And taking my hand in yours, you’d hold it tightly. “You’re beautiful,” you would tell me. “And smart and talented, with the potential to bloom into someone even more amazing than the person you already are.”
Flattered, I would manage half a polite smile and sniffle, “Thanks, but that doesn’t make me feel any better.”
“I know, sorry. So what now? Can we still be friends?” you would ask.
“I guess we have two options: since you are leaving the day after tomorrow, we could, say, give up and say our goodbyes now, which would effectively end our friendship, or we could go right now for sushi, your treat, and try to remain friends by forgetting this ever happened. But either way, I have to move on,” I would resolve.
There would be a short pause, as we both look at each other awkwardly. Then you’d break the silence by saying, “You’re right,” before turning your back to leave. But after taking a couple of steps, you’d quickly turn around to ask me “You coming?”
I hesitated for a moment, before running up to you and linking arms with you. “Let’s go,” I would answer as I looked up at you fondly.
I take a quick glance back to see if the guy is still there, but to my relief he was nowhere to be seen. Shrugging my shoulders, I decide to keep on walking ahead. But silently, I made a promise to myself that is that I would never go there again.