The air outside felt cold and dead, which only meant one thing — winter was around the corner. I watched people blew their hands as they rushed towards their cars, excited to go home or be somewhere warm and cozy. From where I was sitting, I could see the building lights giving life to the city. I leaned on the glass window beside me and wondered how many people were still working on those offices, how much money they were making, or if they were really happy with the kind of life that they’re leading. My breathe created a fog on the window and instinctively, I drew a heart out of it.
“Here.” Your voice made me jump out of my seat. “I bought you a salad, and fries with cheese.”
“I told you I’m not hungry. I only wanted a lemonade.” I complained, putting the food tray away from me.
“You need to eat.” You pushed it back in my direction. “You’ve been working all day.” You said, a tired expression on your face.
“You don’t need to babysit me, you know.” I said, mocking you.
“Well, this is my way of showing you how much I care.” You grinned sheepishly. Your lips turned to a side smile, and everything inside of me started to melt.
“Oh here we are again...” I said unenthusiastically, pretending like I didn’t feel anything.
For the past few months, I have perfected the act of concealing my emotions and letting people ponder what’s on my mind.
“What?” You raised your eyebrows. “You get annoyed every time I say ‘I like you’ so now, I’m saying it in a different light.”
“That’s because you’ve said it a hundred of times already.” I put a fork of salad in my mouth.
“And you haven’t returned the affection for a hundred of times, too!” You stared deep into my eyes, daring me to come up with a clever response.
I rolled my eyes dramatically, because it was the only thing that I could do when I wasn’t sure what to say.
“You’re really good at breaking people’s heart. You know that, right?” You said in your low-voice, as if you were trying to tell me a secret.
“Hmmm.” I shrugged.
I filled you in with the boring details of how my day went at work and why I had to stay in the office for four extra hours. You, on the other hand, excitedly walked me through on this new project that you were creating. I could see it in your expression how badly you wanted it, how dedicated you were to finish it. You talked and talked and talked while my heart kept convincing me that maybe you were the one I’ve been waiting for so long.
“Again, thank you for picking me up at work.” You clicked the unlock button on your keypad as we made our way out of Applebee’s. “I know it’s kind of late and you have other things to do and..”
“It’s fine.” You said dismissively, like it’s not a big deal, like driving me from my workplace to my apartment was a normal thing that you do. “I take pride of being the hero who saves you.”
“Um, that is why your friends hate me and think that I’m only using you.” I replied worriedly.
“I know when I’m being taking for granted, okay? Don’t worry so much about them.” You opened the passenger door for me. “Hop in.”
We pulled out of the parking lot and drove in silence until we reached the highway.
“There’s something I’ve been thinking these past few days — you don’t have to answer anything if you’re not comfortable.” The road in front of us was clear but suddenly, you slowed down your speed, as if you were about to utter a very important announcement. “Like I just want to know if I have a shot in you?”
“Oh.” I focused my attention at the side-mirror. “Um.”
“It’s just a stupid thought. Forget about it.” You smiled nervously.
I watched you drive, your green eyes occasionally glowed whenever a car’s lights passed us. I wanted to hold your hands for as long as I could and assure you that yes — you have one hundred percent chance on me — but I couldn’t, because I was scared.
I could see you catching a glimpse on me, probably trying to guess what I was thinking. I yawned so I could fill the air with a sound.
“Can I be completely honest with you?” You asked.
“Please go ahead.” I rested my head comfortably on the window and looked directly at you.
“Whoever came before me; whoever hurt you in the past — I am not them.” You simultaneously turned your attention to me and on the road. “I just want you to know that.”
I nod solemnly. “Yep! This is highly noted.”
“All I want is for you to be happy. And I’ll do everything to make that possible.” You focused your eyes in front of you, determined not to meet mine.
“What?” You smiled at me.
“Seriously?” I put the back of my hand on my lips. “You’re being too cheesy right now. And it’s not helping you win my heart.”
“I’d rather tell the truth and risk embarrassing myself than live the rest of my life regretting the words that I never said.” You explained.
I playfully smack you in the shoulder. “What’s gotten into you today, Confucius?”
“Just want to tell you what I really feel before you break my heart.” You teased.
I was about to retaliate but we already arrived at my apartment. You killed the engine of your car.
“So...” You let your voice lingered for a couple of seconds, like you weren’t sure what else to add. “Is this the part when we call it a day?”
I giggled. I couldn’t help but let out a soft and raspy sound from my throat.
“You’re cute when you do that.” You complimented.
“Yeah. I get that a lot.” I replied.
You unbuckled your seatbelt, stared deep into my soul, and stretched your arm on the headrest of my seat. My heart was pounding so loud and for a moment I was worried you could hear it. You touched my cheek and searched for any sign of discomfort on my face. You leaned in closer and closer, our lips inches apart.
“I’m sorry I can’t.” I turned away.
You bowed your head. “I...understand.”
“Let’s take it a little bit slow, okay?” I rubbed your back, trying to console you. I kissed you on the forehead and said my goodnight.
I stepped out of your car and looked back at you only to feel a hot pang of guilt. You switched the key in the ignition and your car came back to life. You made a weak wave and drove out of my street. You turned into the corner, and completely vanished out of my sight.
I shivered as I walked towards my apartment door. For the last time, I glanced at the spot where we parked, closed my eyes, remembered you in my mind, and whispered to the universe, “I promise not to break your heart.”