From Our Readers: When We're As Close As Strangers
On some nights I'd find mementos of you—like the jacket you made me wear while we owned the town until the sun came up; or the imitation of your favorite Kobe jersey which still looks like a dress when I'm the one wearing it); or that snow globe you gave me for Christmas which is actually already broken by the way— all lying on random places inside my room. After my more often than not less-than-a-minute trip down the memory lane, I'd bury my face in my hands and wrap myself into a cocoon in my sheets, and maybe whisper your name and how much I miss you, or maybe even how much I still love you—as if it were a secret to be kept. Ever so silently as if you're sleeping right next to me, listening to everything I say.
Maybe someday you'll swing by the record store we used to go to whenever we had free cuts in college. You'd pick up a face-designed vinyl, hold it in front of your face and perhaps wait for a familiar laugh to escape my lips. But all you'll hear is the soft cracking of notes from tracks way back in the ‘60s. Then you’ll put the vinyl down, expecting to find me on the other side of the racks, fumbling over the other records in hopes of finding a funnier or quirkier face-designed vinyl , beating you at your own game. But instead you'll see the grumpy cashier lady who we used to make fun of for her face caked in makeup or just a random boy covering his face with vinyl records like we used to. Only this time you’ll mutter snide comments on how immature he was, or maybe you'd go on and think how senseless it was just because he isn't me, he isn't you —he isn’t us.
And maybe someday I'll go to our favorite café, where some of our many firsts happened—as well as our lasts, too. I'll walk in and the familiar minty chocolate scent would tickle my senses and lead me to our usual spot, just beside the window. And in between the whistles of boiling kettles and the coffee shop soundtrack, I'll remember the way your gaze held mine when you first told me you loved me. It was in that moment that I realized I was falling for the first time, crashing head first to the ground. Then my mind would stop wandering in the past once my straw hits the airy bottom of what used to be a 350-mL cup of Green Tea Latte, which wasn’t exactly my favorite. It was yours. The only reason I've gotten it is because the closer my cup was to being empty, the more I was filled with thoughts of you. It was nostalgic, comforting, but most of all bittersweet.
The only reason I've gotten it is because the closer my cup was to being empty, the more I was filled with thoughts of you. It was nostalgic, comforting, but most of all bittersweet.
Maybe, just maybe, our paths will cross again someday and you'll still have the same warm brown eyes, and still have that hair I used to ruffle all the time just because I adore it that much. Although when that day comes, you'll still be you but you will no longer be mine.
And so will I.
Sent in by Cassandra Lim. Got your own story to tell? Submit your feels! We'd love to hear what you have to say. If you're lucky, you just might get published in this space, too! Please indicate if you want to remain anonymous. We're also looking for artwork and illustrations to use with the stories, so please send some in if you want to be featured! Please send original, unpublished work only.