He looks back at me, doesn't blink, and asks, Why?
I don't know what to say, how to answer, because there is so much in my head and I can't get them out. I blurt out some lousy reason, some rubbish about not wanting to sneak and lie anymore, and I sound lame, even to my own ears.
I'm in the middle of my 'I feel horrible' speech when his phone rings. I feel stupid. There is no other way to do it, and then I catch a fleeting expression on his face that leaves as quickly as it arrives. Is it just me, or did he just look like he's about to cry?
Nobody answers me, but it doesn't matter. I'm tongue-tied and awkward. My words are beautiful in my head, but when I attempt to voice them, they sound choppy, immature and cold.
There is no other way to do it. I tell myself this. I tell myself to say something. He tells me to say something. I say nothing.
I don't know what to say, he says.
I feel the exact same way. I know I have to say something. To explain why I'm doing this. But I can't. The words just won't come. The pep talk I gave myself on the way there has all but vanished. My mind is a total blank.
So what do you want to do now? he asks.
I don't know. I don't know how he's feeling because he doesn't tell me. So I ask.
It doesn't matter.
I take a while to get it, and when I do, I feel the first wave of tears sweep over me.
Of course it matters. It's not just about me.
But then, I'm lying to myself. It is just about me. This is who I am, how I am. I can't love anybody becaue I reserve my ability to love for myself. I'm selfish, and I want him to make me feel better. I know I have no right, but I still want it anyway.
We're sitting next to each other on a bench, facing each other, close enough to touch but we don't, and he feels like he's miles and miles away. There is no turning back. I know this, because he won't look at me, he won't talk to me the way he used to and he won't even touch me. I really want to split and run. I can't take the silence, the discomfort and the knowledge that I have caused hurt to another person, someone whom I care about despite the scenario.
You want to go back? he asks.
Yes, I do. Desperately. For some reason I stay and shake my head.
A few more minutes pass without either of us saying a word. When he repeats his question I cave.
I can't stand the distance, so I breach it. I hug him, kiss him on the cheek, tell him I'm sorry but he doesn't hear. I'm going now, okay? I say. The lump in my throat gets larger.
I tell him, bye, take care, and stand up and walk away.
I'm holding my tears pretty well, until something snaps and I can't control it anymore. I let the dam fall in public and I'm crying. I glare at the flyer guy on my way down to the MRT station. People stare, but I don't care. It doesn't matter.