Signed, Tiffany Jillian Go; carnivaltowns
In the early hours of night, I walked along the same path I always did. It was beaten, ridden with leaves, and the cobblestone sidewalk was rough against my sneakers. No one ever crossed this way until I saw a boy with ruffled hair, a black tee, fitted jeans, and laced shoes. All the while, my heart caught in my throat. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, I told myself, as I listed all the reasons, all the prepared speeches I rattled off in my head for nights. The universe was too cruel for us to collide once again after months of barely uttering a word to each other.
Tell me, how did we go from beginning and ending with each other to complete silence? You know how I wasn’t used to it. You know how much I hate the silence. And yet, you went there. You told me you wouldn’t go there. This was my path now, as I became a shadow behind the boy. He was laughing, the phone on his ear, and I suddenly remembered the times when we both laughed like nothing mattered, like the world was dead but to the both of us. It seemed so long ago, as if years had come in between those moments we both shared.
I wish I could tell you the aftermath of anger, when all the insults in your head no longer matter, when the distance turns to normalcy, and separation is no longer loneliness but change. It’s between the freshness of rage and the expiration of it, because you still have the capability to go back to having your blood boil, dreaming up fantasies of confronting the person and ending it with a slap to the face, and dreamless sleep— and when you just don’t care anymore.
But up until now, I’m still terrified. I’m still terrified you’d pass me by and my anger would have turned into an act of cowardice, my mouth not willing to speak when my mind demands, and my feet cemented to the floor instead of running away. In my head, it all sounded so easy, because I wish I could let you feel the hurt coursing through my veins — the words I wanted to throw at you, to strike you a million times in the face just to let you feel the pain I feel. But it’s no use, you’ll get away anyway because at some point you won’t matter. You were someone who became the one that once mattered instead, and another one of those unexplained mysteries I would reluctantly keep shoved in my shelf.
My footsteps grew more in step as I followed behind, and it turns out it wasn’t you but someone else. I couldn’t breathe for a second as I still ran away, hiding behind a tree trunk and cowering, shaking slightly. I still remember the days when your footsteps marked theirs beside mine, only to find that they mattered less and less everyday.