I could hear the subway's last call for boarding sound through my earphones. I ran down the escalator, took the steps two at a time, and slipped through the doors before they slid shut. I quickly scanned for a seat and took one by the windows. Roy Kim's Suddenly was playing as I took my phone out of my pocket.
The stranger's gaze still lingered on me and I could not shake off the uneasy feeling. I had not taken in so much of him yet, all that I could remember was still vivid in my mind. I loved the way his hair fell over his eyes, creating a beautiful curtain. He was tall. Taller than me from where I was standing. He had broad shoulders and was a bit chubby. The kind of chubby I liked and would never openly admit.
I could feel a smile spreading across my face when I realized that my outfit looked incredible from the back. Even though I might never meet him again, I was happy knowing that the view of me walking away was to die for. Or so I keep telling myself.
I got off at the next stop and followed the throng of people into the underground mall. All I needed was a tub of ice cream and maybe a new notebook that I would dedicate to write about that stranger, or not.
"Rie, how are you doing!"
I slowly slipped off my earphones and paused my music, just when I was in the middle of Andra Day's Rise Up.
My stomach was in a bit of a knot because we had some history together that had taken a while to get over. As he approached, the girl to his right slipped her hand into his and pulled herself closer.
Well, would you look at that!
"Rie, this is Anastasia, my fiance," Luca said beaming.
"Ah, congratulations," I replied smiling weakly.
"Thanks. How have you been with school and all?" He asked, pushing the conversation further as a smile danced on his lips.
Anastasia was holding onto his arm like it was her life-support, scrolling through her phone and completely ignoring my existence. Seeing her made me understand what he had meant when he said that I was not his type. She was-
"I graduated last month actually," I said, my confidence surging back. My urge to get that ice cream tub had doubled. Screw this! I did not need to stand there and act as if we have been friends all along. "I have somewhere I need to be. Have a nice evening." I waved a quick goodbye and stepped away from them.
"Oh, well take care," He said after me.
Of all the days of the year to run into my past, it had to be the one day I was feeling extremely positive about myself. I was not sad. I was not happy. I felt nothing when I saw him yet, Anastasia was the manifestation of all my anxiety. He had gotten what he wanted. All that he wanted, was in that zoned-out girl. I gotta say, karma seems to have been fast asleep these past two years to have let him slip by like that.
"That will be seven twenty-five, please."
"Here you go, have a nice day."
"Thank you, you too."
The world sure has a funny way of showing you just how far niceness can take you. Nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Okay, I am just going on a rant here.
What's taking you so long?
I looked at my phone and debated ignoring Rose's text and dashing into the theatre with the ice cream. She would understand, right?
I had a short roadblock. Ran into Luca with his fiance Anastasia.
WHAAAAT? Stay where you are, I am coming.
NOOO. Please do not turn this into a scene. I will be home very soon.
Do not take any detours.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean Rie...
Ice cream in one arm and other in my jeans pocket, I took the next metro heading home. I could feel tears brimming in my eyes so I looked up and struggled to blink them away. I had not cried in months and could not understand why my heart felt so heavy all of a sudden. I was not jealous. What was this feeling I could not put my finger on? Was I having a pan-
Oh, God! The ice cream slipped out of my arm as I fell into a ball on the ground, heaving.