He was standing by the door waiting for him to come home. It’s been hours since he called and now he couldn’t think of anything else. “What happened?”, he whispered to himself, confused. “Where is he now?” He wonders.
It was around 3 am in the morning when John called. He couldn’t hear him clearly but he knew he was in trouble. “Help!”, John said trembling. And that bolted him out of his sleep. “Where are you?”, he asked, concerned but not worried yet. Then the line was suddenly cut. He got out of his bed, put on his clothes and rushed outside to check. It was raining hard that morning but even the storm couldn’t stop him from finding out what’s going on with John. He waited outside for a few minutes and then hailed a cab.
It’s been a year since the two of them last talked to each other that’s why he was surprised to hear his voice especially in such strange circumstance. John wanted space, he wanted out of the relationship, to explore new things or whatever cliched reasons why a partner would break up with you. As much as it hurt him to let him go, he did. There’s really no point in begging someone to stay if they don’t want to anymore and so they parted ways. John moved out the next day and from then on they never spoke to each other again.
It’s weird, in a way, to love someone so deeply and know someone so much that one day you’ll wake up as strangers. It’s as if the last 2 years you spent together was nothing but a distant memory – a dream, something that happened in a another place, another lifetime.
John lives an hour away outside of the city. He knows because his best friend would usually update him on his whereabouts. No matter how many times he asked his friend to stop talking about John, deep inside he still wanted to know what has been going on with his ex. John wasn’t the most stable guy out there. Some would even say he was a lost cause. Yes, he was troubled but only in a sense that he needed protection – not just from the people in his lives that wanted to take advantage of him but to himself. His life was complicated and since he was young he had been through a lot starting with an abusive father and an absent mother. He grew up alone, with no siblings to look after him or to support him. For a while he lived with his aunt after he ran away from home. She was the only family he knew but in a tragic turn of events, she passed away too soon.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” his best friend would say. “He’s got a new job at an advertising agency, he travels a lot and from his feed it doesn’t look like he’s dating anyone as of the moment,” he continued. “Or maybe he just doesn’t post any photos of them together?” I asked, curious. John was a very private person. He was very reserved and he doesn’t like going out at night. He was never the type that would start a conversation. He would just sit by the corner, read his book and completely engrossed himself on whatever he was reading. He was a bit shy and mostly kept to himself that’s why not a lot of people could get close to him. It was hard for him to share his feelings because he doesn’t want anyone to feel bad for him. He wanted people to think that he was strong or that he has all of this figured out but when he stares into his eyes he could tell that John was scared. That he was always worried.
The first time they met was in a bookstore. He caught him checking out one of the books and walked up to him to ask if he thinks the author was good. John was taken aback for sure. To find a stranger in front of him asking about a book he hasn’t even read yet. He was embarrassed at first. It was never really like him to just walk up to someone but he was curious enough to muster all the courage he has to do it. Honestly, it wasn’t the first hime he saw John in that bookstore. He had been watching him since the day he saw him, which was about a few weeks prior. John was too consumed in his own little world that he never noticed him. For hours he would look at the titles, read the summary and finally choose one that best interests him. And he watched him, every Monday morning, like a predator observing his prey and waiting for the right moment to strike. He doesn’t want to admit it at first but he was kind of stalking him already. “I don’t know, I’m just really drawn to him,” he said to his best friend during one of their coffee breaks. “He’s so mysterious that I feel like I want to get to know him,” he continued.
“You just probably want to fuck him,” his best friend said laughing and he answered with a resounding, “Well, yes! Of course.”
Who wouldn’t want to? He muttered while the driver drove past the bridge crossing to John’s place. John was probably one of the most beautiful person he has ever seen. He was different from all the other guys he met before. It was like he didn’t know how attractive he was. He didn’t like it when people stare at him that’s why he was always looking down, afraid to make eye contact with anyone. He just wanted to blend in with everyone else but the more he tried to the more he stood out. He was like a Greek god walking amongst us mere mortals just trying to hide his identity but failing at the same time.
“He’s probably weird,” he told his best friend. “Maybe something happened to him as a kid that fucked up his entire existence,” he added. But the more he tried to figure him out the more he got absorbed. His curiosity just kept growing and growing until one day, when finally had the courage, he walked over to him and talked.
He felt the rush of blood rising the moment he spoke. His face was red from embarrassment that all he could think of was running away and just forget what happened. He’ll never go back to that hook store ever again, he though to himself. But he was still there, standing, frozen, unable to move.
He was more beautiful up close, he realized. How could someone who looks like this man in front of me can go unnoticed all his life. He could have been an actor or a model or just be famous for having a face like that. So he stared at him and he stared back in awe.
People often talk about the significant moments that defined their lives and for him it was this moment. A single moment that seemed to stretch for a lifetime.
He waited for him to answer back. Looked into his eyes for some answers until he finally opened his mouth.
“You can see me?” John said.