The Stranger 8- Meeting

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“Hello?”

I instantly recognized the voice.

“Hey Harry. How are you?”

There was an awkward silence where I wondered whether he would recognize me or not. He did.

We talked for a little while over the phone, and I told him that I would be leaving Beirut, and that I wished to see him before I went. In my heart, I told myself that I needed my closure, but I didn’t tell him that at the risk of sounding weird, not to mention extremely stupid: Calling my 2 months ex-boyfriend after two years to tell him I needed closure.

I expected him to be cold, but his tone was sweet, as sweet as it had ever been. He asked me where I was and I told him I was walking around before heading home to finish preparing for my senior year exams. He sounded thrilled to hear from me, and he kept saying how happy he was that I called. He asked me when I would be free, and I told him on Thursday, and we decided to meet in Hamra that day.

The next few days were restless, what with my nervousness about my exams, and my approaching meeting with Harry. Before I slept I would run a script in my head about the things I wanted to tell him. And I made my mind about asking him everything that I never had the chance to ask him. Every single detail I needed to know to be able to move on. I made my mind that on Thursday I would finally get my closure. On Thursday, every piece of the puzzle would be put together. On Thursday, things will change.

Thursday came, and I found myself nervous in a way I hadn’t felt for a long time. Not the first-date kind of nervous. A different kind, one where my stomach turns every time I think about our meeting, a nervous mixed with both longing and a desire to break free. A nervous to which he had made me addicted before.

We met at Gloria Jean’s in Hamra. I hugged him but noticed he did not wear the same perfume anymore. But his eyes, oh his eyes were still the same. I had told him two years ago that he never looked at me the same way he looked at other people. When he looked at me his eyes were different. I could not explain how, but they were different. And at Gloria Jean’s he looked at me with those eyes, ones that are dreamy and found nothing else in the world but to contain me. We sat down and talked about our lives, updated each other about work and studies. I told him about my job offer and he told me he was happy for me, and I told him I was happy for him as well, the way his work was coming along. We discussed the movie he had filmed, talked about mythology and pokemon, Poseidon and Pikachu. We talked just like we used to talk two years ago, the easy, comfortable talk where I felt I could pour my heart right on the table. After a little while, it felt as if nothing had changed. As if no time had passed us. As if we had grown up, but never changed. I forgot about the questions I wanted to ask him, part of me still had the urge to ask them, but another wanted to remain easy with him at that moment, easy, comfortable and lost.

A few hours later he told me he had to meet his friend somewhere nearby and he insisted I would join them. And I did reluctantly. His friend was in De Prague, where we had met the first time which was ironic. For some reason that night felt like a recreation of our first date, and my stomach was fluttering just like back then. We ordered wine, and his friend kept glances between us. We talked and we laughed, and I loved his friend, but eventually she had to go. Harry and I were left alone again. We caught each other in the eye a few times, and both just smiled and looked away. After my second glass of wine, my courage built up. And I dared open the subject of our past relationship.

I told him I still had something for him, and that I was working on that. He met me with silence. He told me he’d never seen me, until this day, as a friend. He told me I was still something different. We were still something different, something weird, but good. And his eyes proved that. He told me he got weak when he found out the news about him travelling, and that he tried to get out of the relationship before things got difficult. And I asked him what I had been asking myself for a long, long time. I asked him that if I had fought for the relationship. If I hadn’t backed out instantly, would he have walked away? And he said no, he said that we would still have been together. We would still have been lovers. And at that, my heart felt almost bursting with confused emotions, I looked in his eyes. God how much I loved him, and how much I wanted him at that moment. And for a second, I felt that it could happen. We might still have a chance after all. We could work it out. He smiled at me lovingly and I could swear he wanted me back as well.

There was silence, and I looked at the door of the bar pondering about the possibilities; about how to work things out with Harry even though I was travelling. And a million ideas crossed my mind.

Lost in my thoughts, I noticed a cute looking guy who had just come in and was looking my way. He was short and had beautiful eyes. He smiled and seemed to be walking to me. And for a second I felt like I recognized him. But oh how mistaken I was. Harry was looking at his glass of wine when the guy stopped right next to us. He put his hand on Harry’s back, the way I used to put my hand on his, and my heart started pounding heavily in my chest. Harry looked up at him and the guy smiled, leaned and kissed him on the cheek. My heart almost stopped as our eyes locked, I knew instantly what was coming, and Harry introduced us…

[…to be continued]

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