"Haruto! Dude, snap out of it!"
My heart was not racing, it was simply longing. I had this ache that I could not pin down and my insecurities were clouding my thoughts. The image of her walking away played in my mind like a messed up mixed tape. I was not sure if the memory I chose to keep depicted what had happened.
"We need to head home," I replied, turning and walking towards the opposite direction.
"The metro is this way," Tony said from behind me.
"I know. I want to walk home."
"For thirty minutes?"
"Yeah. I still have time to work on my summer bod," I dead-panned. Even with the moving crowd, I could hear Tony's loud sigh.
"You're not okay, are you?" He asked, finally beside me. "I am sorry if I pushed it too far. It's just that you're my best mate and I want to see you happy for once. I need you to be happy for once and just get loved the way you deserve to be loved. It kills me to see you struggle so hard to find love since the last time you did-"
"Please don't go there."
"Haruto...you are my brother, best friend, and family. Tell me, am I wrong to believe that the random girl who might be our new waitress for a few weeks is your soulmate?" Tony pressed.
"Tony, what use is it admitting that I think the same way, huh? Tell me? Am I to slide into her DMs and say 'Hi! I just saw you at our family restaurant and thought we should hang out sometime?' "
"That is a super good idea," he replied, smiling and unlocking his phone. "I am sure Anita knows her name so we could know more about her through her socials."
"For heaven's sake don't you dare get your crush involved in this!"
"Low blow Haruto. Anita is not my crush. She is a friend and colleague. Other than that, I have decided that I shall let her be."
"And when did you decide this?" I asked confused.
"Wow. How the tables have turned!"
"Okay, we need to sit somewhere in five minutes. Anita just texted me her full name."
"She, what? How did she even manage to get that? You know what, I do not want to know. See you tomorrow Tony."
I crossed to the other side of the street and slipped on my headphones, hoping that he would get the message that I did not want to engage in any of his matchmaking business.
"See you!" He called out, taking a seat at the bus stop.
I was lost in the music that played through my headphones until I reached home. Light streamed through my bedroom window and threw leafy shadows onto my bed.
"Hey, Neko." I slipped my headphones off, dropped my duffel bag by the bathroom door and bent down to cuddle him. "Missed you too buddy." Amid his crazy licking and over-excited running around my legs, I was so happy to be home. My phone buzzed a couple of times but I ignored it and hit the showers.
What am I doing? Clearly, you are taking a shower. What is happening to me? You are falling in love, again. Why am I afraid to trust my own heart? Um...it kind of failed you miserably the last time you did...
"I should seriously stop having conversations with myself like this," I said out loud. I switched the water to cold and had a quick rinse before I stepped out of the shower.
"Good boy!" I took it from him and slipped it on. I grabbed my phone off the dresser and sat on my bed. Of course, it had to be Tony.
Haruto, you will love me!
Anita came through big time!
Dude, you will not believe this!
Ok, maybe you will. So I found her socials and most of them are private, but she has a personal blog that she has been updating constantly for the past three years.
Haruto, you will love her (if you already don't)! She is a poet and writer and what's more: She. Is. Confident.
Ok. This is it from me. I need to sleep for a while. I took a screenshot of her profile picture. Haruto, I need you to trust my gut in this. If you can't, read her blog. Ok, night!
I dried my hair with one of the clean towels as I scrolled through Tony's texts. He was not messing around!
"Holy..." I muttered. I stopped scrolling and zoomed the screenshot sent. I clicked on the link to her blog and my heart stopped. Briefly. Just briefly. The title of her latest blog read: Remedies to a broken heart by Rie Ishi and below it, was a black and white boudoir picture of her seated on a bar stool with a lace scarf draped around her. What took me by surprise, was the fact that she had the same look on her face when she had turned and stared me dead in the eye. She was not afraid.
Who are you, Rie Ishi?