“Your hair is a bit shorter now.”
You tell me this while your hand begins to reach towards the ends which fall somewhere between my shoulders and chin. I think I can almost hear a tinge of sadness in your voice, but it’s hard to say; you always were rather brilliant at masking your thoughts with a façade. You also loved running your hands through my hair but it’s been more than half a year since we’ve even shared a single word.
“Yeah, I know.”
An awkward thickness has filled the air, making it slightly harder to breathe. Maybe that’s just me, but judging by the way you keep glancing to the scuffed tile and passing faces, you seem to feel it too. Maybe, though, this was the way the air always was when we were together. I’ve simply become so accustomed to clean air that this toxicity clouds my lungs now.
The silence becomes almost painful so words stumble out of my mouth forcefully, almost the way water breaks through a dam after pushing against and holding back for so long.
“So how are you?”
I regret saying that the moment I feel the first syllable leave my lips. Do I want to know? That’s complicated. Yes, I want to know what’s been going on in your life and how you are. How are your sisters? Did you get that promotion? Decide on a major? I want to catch up because it is so painfully difficult to be ripped apart from someone when at one point, they were all that mattered to you. What I don’t want to know is how many other girls have you held and whispered to them the same things you once sang to me.
“Good, I guess.”
I don’t know what else I expected. You always had two moods; oversharing and talking over anyone or speaking in sentences with a strict maximum of ten syllables, and I think it’s fair to assume I am not really one you’d even subconsciously consider oversharing with. I think maybe just a part of me was hoping for one of your tangents, though. I consider asking if you’ve heard the new album when your eyes meet mine and I see you begin to say something.
“You know, I had honestly forgotten what your voice sounded like. It’s really nice to hear it again.”
I’m not quick enough to catch my eyes from widening a little and my mouth opening just so slightly so that my lips begin to part. This isn’t the same person I remember standing in front of me, this isn’t you. You would’ve retorted back to my silence with a jab at my “lack of conversational skills” or made a clearly false excuse to escape the situation entirely. You never would’ve admitted to missing something, missing me. Yet, here we are. What do I do? How am I supposed to respond to that? Have I been silent for too long? Gosh, I’ve been silent for too long. Now you’re looking at me like you’re expecting something and almost look kind of concerned for my well being. Oh, god I probably look nauseous, you always did tell me I look nauseous when I’m confused.
“Yeah, uh…yeah. It’s nice to hear yours too.”
You laugh melodically over my word stumblings, almost like you did when you first heard my nervous stutters. Sweet, you called them. In the beginning, you adored every little tick I had. Is that what this is? The beginning again?
Your fingertips graze my waist and my body jerks back immediately and I am violently reminded exactly why this can’t happen again, not now and not ever. I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to block out the flashing scenes of screaming and shoving and silencing and what ultimately led to the death of who I once was, but the scenes play on and on. The air is filled with the thick of your stupid cologne and I can’t breathe. You suffocate me even now, without saying a single word. I rip myself away from the moment and out of the doors, out and out and out to somewhere I can breathe again. Somewhere you will never find me.
“Your hair is a bit shorter now.”