When the first signs were there, she brushed them aside. After all, it was very petty if she decided to dwell on a particular missing emoji in a goodnight greeting. And despite the many telling signs later, and that feeling in her gut that told her that something was changing, the hopeful part of her won in the end. She, once again, brushed aside her fears.
It also didn’t help that every single time she was on the verge of confronting the change head front, by a cruel twist of fate (or a stroke of luck, depending on how you see it), they would have a moment of sweet connection. Her fears would once again be appeased, because suddenly that sky did not look so dark anymore. Somehow, she manages to convince herself that her judgement was, once again, wrong.
But deep down, she knew: It was the missing emojis, the fewer number of times she saw him, the increasing coldness in his texts. It was when pet names became rarely heard; when ‘our’ became ‘my’. It was when, one day, all of a sudden, his plans for the future did not include her.
‘And it’s going to be so cool,’ he says, eyes glimmering with excitement. ‘I’ll have a huge beach house all to myself. Every morning, I’ll wake up to the calls of the seagulls. It’s going to be fantastic, Amber!’
Her heart lurches. But Amber never disappoints.
‘Of course!’ She stutters.
And the cycle repeats.
The sun was scorching. Feet were shuffling on the concrete floors, voices trying to beat the noise of the crowd.
She silently watches from behind a pillar. They were saying their goodbyes, she observes, as she leans in to eavesdrop on the conversation.
It was nothing out of the ordinary, but somehow, she just needed to know. About as much of his life as possible. About his life beyond her. Because once he leaves, it is going to be a whole new world out there. Him slipping away would be inevitable. She has to learn as much as possible now, she thinks.
But she’s not doing a very good job of hiding. Looking over his parents, he spots a pair of familiar blue sneakers shifting in and out of his view. Subconsciously, the corners of his mouth curve up into a shy smile. So she did come after all, he muses.
Today was the day. It was a day of both promises and the breaking of deals, of change, and of continuity.
‘Nothing will change,’ is how he starts off his greeting, when he finally excuses himself from his company.
Her heart drops, and for a moment she thought she heard a thud and a shatter. In her head, she laughs at herself. Status quo was the last thing she wanted and needed. But as usual, none of these thoughts were said out loud.
Without betraying a hint of her true emotion, she composes herself, and flashes a bright smile.
I’ve always prided myself to be a rather strong person.
Whatever life has thrown at me, I have taken it as it came my way.
Not with positivity. but not with spite, or contempt at the world, either.
I’ve never moaned that my life sucked, or that why this is happening to me, or whatsoever. Because I know that I’m actually really lucky, and privileged.
And there’s the fact that a lot of our life really IS within our control, no matter how much we try to say otherwise.
More often, it is the choices we made that bring us to where we are toady.
And for the remaining occurrences that happen due to sheer luck (or the lack thereof), feel bad about it. But then get over it. Use the time to appreciate the things that did go right – your loved ones who stayed beside you, that neighbour who always greets you with that sunny smile, the bus that arrived on time today.
Stars shine brightest in the dark.
And I’ve lost something on the way to where I am today.