He saw her by chance. One of those occurrences where you look away and then back again and, if with another person, ask if they see what you see. By the time he had convinced himself it was her she’d already begun to walk towards him through the crowd.
He saw it in her face. She looked…disappointed. Her lips in a straight line like a heart monitor, eyebrows ever so slightly scrunched as if bringing thoughts together in preparation. And then he saw her hands. They were glued inside her jacket pockets.
He had a sudden urge to back out. Run, even. But he couldn’t move, making the wait for her to close the distance between them all the more dreadful. Just before she turned her eyes up to speak, he blurted out, “I can’t believe you’re here.”
“What’s that s’posta mean?” she replied, insulted.
“Nothin’, really…jus that the only reason I came here was ’cause I assumed you wouldn’t be here.”
“You’re an ass, ya know that?
They both looked down. He was nervous. She wasn’t sure how to proceed. “I don’t know who you are anymore,” she began.
He looked up, nerves suddenly gone, angry perhaps, that she would have the gall to tell him that.
“You used to tell me everything,” she continued.
“Used to,” he mumbled. “I never thought I was obligated to continue telling you everything I thought. It gets old you know, ” he found himself saying. It’d come out without his mind knowing what his mouth was doing.
“I thought you didn’t care what other people thought,” she said, interrupting his wandering thoughts. “So why the hell did you just, I don’t know, start caring?”
“I guess ’cause we’re older now.”
She didn’t understand. They’d known each other for close to ten years and they were now only in their twenties. She knew he wasn’t going to explain and so pushed him. He stumbled backwards into the fifteen foot wooden post on top of which hung a public loudspeaker. She always pushed when she was angry. He knew it wasn’t her anger this time. Something felt different. Cold. It was a cold push.
“I’m tired of people assuming things that aren’t true. Whispering behind my back even though they know I can hear what they’re saying. I hate…”
“Hate what?” she demanded.
“I almost hate you for it.”
She was caught off guard again, dumbfounded by his cold intentions. She took a few steps back shaking her head at him. He put his hands in his jacket pockets. He always did that when he had nothing left to say.