Yes, it was so long ago. But, I can still imagine the pain as if it were last week: doubled over in my parents' bathtub, water splashing all around me, in a pain I'd never felt before in my life—a pain so deep that despite my eyes being swollen and my mouth agape, tears and sound wouldn't come out.
How could I have no feelings at all about running into the person for whom I at one time had felt so much that it took years to recover?
There he stood in the center of the intersection as he gave me his new 323 number.
"I moved back," he said.
"Oh, I didn't know you moved away again," I replied matter-of-factly.
Then he whispered in my ear, "I want to take you on that date I should have taken you on 10 years ago."
A chill ran down my spine as I was surprised to feel a tear want to come out. I felt something, and I knew it. In a strange way, I felt relieved that I finally did feel something.
It was disconcerting nonetheless. It was more than 10 years, but who's counting? It's a chapter closed so long ago it's in another volume (but yet still so nearby). It was from a time in my life when love was still innocent. There's a part of me that longs so much to feel that innocence again, yet knowing that was probably the only time it would feel that way.
I smiled, somewhat relieved yet simultaneously disturbed by feelings—unable at the time to fathom what they meant. I saved his number, knowing I couldn't use it, and told him bye.
I've grown so much since we first met. But, for a fleeting moment, to reconnect with that more innocent time and think it possible, even if for just a moment, was something I wish I could find a way to put into words or just into a cogent thought.
With that, I pulled in the tear that wanted to be released, shrouded my torment, and caught up with my friends.
It's unsettling in that I know extinguishing the ghost doesn't end what's been stirred up inside. At first I wished I hadn't seen him, but I know I somehow need to confront my ghosts or they'll haunt me forever.
"Well, this is incredible! Starving! Insatiable!
Yes, this is love for the first time!
Well, you'd like to think that you are invincible.
Yeah, well. Weren't we all once?
...before we felt loss for the first time.
Well, this is the last time."