My jaw dropped when I saw you waiting for me at the exit. I blamed my overnight bus journey and sleep deprivation for what I was convinced was a hallucination. You asked if I wanted to grab a coffee, and hearing your voice convinced me you were real.
“No,” I replied, “I haven’t slept a wink all night. I could go for some tea, though.”
No shops had opened yet; only cigarette stands had their shutters up. If you were lucky, you’d find some that had thermoses of the beverages as well. We stopped at the first one. They were selling coffee, but no tea.
The same thing happened at a few more stands. I didn’t want you to tire yourself out, so I told you coffee was fine. “I’m not gonna catch much sleep anyway. I’ll take a nap in the middle of the day.”
You looked at me for a moment. What did you find there, I wonder. “No, I’ll get you that tea,” you said with a smile.
The sky was turning a soothing shade of peach by the time we found a stand that sold it. A stray dog walked up to you, making me jump mid-sip, scalding my tongue as a result.
“Relax. It won’t hurt you,” you said, and broke off a piece of your biscuit.
“I thought you’re a cat person,” I asked, wishing the dog would leave. It seemed friendly, but it was a stray.
“I am. Doesn’t mean I can’t pet this shweet leetle guy here. Yes, I can. Oh, yes I can,” you were baby-talking, I observed, both amused and amazed.
What was it about that sight that made me feel I didn’t ever want to be without you?
Don’t say it, I told myself. Words falter, words fail, words reduce.
“I love you,” I said disregarding the inner voice that was holding me back. I bit my tongue, embarrassed, worried, conscious, afraid of what you might say or think.
“I love you too,” you replied, looking up, smiling. As though this wasn’t the first time. As though we had been saying this to each other for ages, every night before falling asleep.
Perhaps we had. Not everything needs to be put in words.
Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!