“So what else is new?” Kaleb asks Dominic with a hint of interest, seemingly not wanting to end the conversation just yet.
Dominic smiles a bit. “I don’t know. Nothing’s really been going on lately.” Kaleb gives Dominic a look of anticipation, silently urging him to think of a topic and continue.
Dominic looks to the side for a while, pursing his lips. Kaleb remembers how he used to do this back at the office. Whenever they would have a team conference, he would always consult Dominic for a suggestion. His favorite habit while he thinks is pursing his lips. Kaleb used to find it cute. And at this moment, he finds out that he still does.
“Oh,” Dominic starts, calling Kaleb’s full attention. “Remember how I told you that I’ve never gone skating before?” Kaleb nods eagerly, wondering how Dominic can speak of a memory that now seemed so distant as if it just happened yesterday.
“Well, it actually happened quite a while back, but I went to Russia with my girlfriend and we went to this huge famous skating rink—“ Dominic continues to talk, but Kaleb has stopped following him the moment he mentioned girlfriend. Something had been bothering him since the two of them had coincidentally met at this cafe and started catching up on each other’s lives. For the past few hours, Kaleb has been trying to remember anything new he learned about Dominic from his many facebook posts (no, he has not been stalking him), but now with a heavy heart, he doesn’t want to remember at all.
Dominic is still talking, but the painful feeling in Kaleb’s chest is blocking out all the words coming from Dominic’s mouth. He tries to listen to the story, but his mind keeps going back to that picture of Dominic and a girl that had long curly brown hair and soft rosy cheeks, and how different that girl seemed from him. How could a person’s preferences change so much over the span of three years? How many did Dominic actually date after Kaleb? What is Dominic like now? Does Kaleb still know anything about him at all?
Kaleb starts trembling. Luckily, there’s a table between the two of them so Dominic doesn’t notice. He tries to stop his hands and feet from shaking involuntarily, but it’s no use. Right now, his body is being overwhelmed by fear. What is he even afraid of?
“Hey, are you okay?” Kaleb’s eyes shoot up to meet Dominic’s. “You’ve been quiet for a while. Is something wrong?” Ah, here it is. Dominic’s sweet and caring nature. This is what Kaleb has been terribly missing. This is what he’s been searching for. After Dominic left, there has been a void in Kaleb’s heart. Of course, Kaleb has constantly tried to ignore it. But up until now, it’s still there.
Kaleb fakes a smile and slowly shakes his head to show that he’s fine.
And his hardened heart starts to soften again when Dominic returns it with a genuine one. Here it is. The smile that always managed to brighten everything up. And at this moment, Kaleb finds out that it still does.
Kaleb is no longer shaking. And as if on cue, the rain that had been pouring just a little while ago turns to a light shower of water before completely stopping.
Kaleb turns to look at Dominic and catches him staring at the window outside as well. Is time to go? After all, they did decide to talk and stay for a while because there was a heavy rain outside. Kaleb opens his mouth to speak, but Dominic is faster than him.
“Well, it’s about time we go, don’t you think?” Before Kaleb could even reply, Dominic starts gathering up his things and standing up. Did he hate talking to him that much?
They both stand outside for a little while, taking in the humid air lingering about. Silence stands between the two men, before Dominic finally decides to turn around and face Kaleb.
“Well, it was nice seeing you again.” He smiles, so sincerely yet with a hint of sadness at the same time. Or is Kaleb just imagining that? He wants to think that he’s not.
“It was nice seeing you too,” Kaleb replies. “Do you want to meet up again sometime?” he wants to add. But, in the end, decides not to.
“It’s been so long.” “Don’t you want to stay for a bit longer?”
“It was a good talk.” “You never texted me again.”
“I’m just really glad I got to meet you again.” “You’re making it sound like this will be the last time.”
“Well, I’m off.” “Don’t go.”
“Bye, Kaleb.” “I don’t want to miss you again.”
“Bye.” Dominic turns to the opposite direction and starts walking, slowly at first, then as if regaining composure, a little faster.
Just like that day, Dominic was the first to leave. Kaleb stays for a while in that same spot in front of the cafe, thinking that maybe if he had stayed, then Dominic would have come back. But Dominic, without looking back, just continues to walk farther until he’s no longer in sight.
Kaleb’s feet feel heavy, but he persists to move forward without looking back, just as Dominic had done. Kaleb finds out that he is not as strong as Dominic though, because his foolish hope wins over and like an idiot, he looks back. He chuckles sadly when he sees that nothing is there. Kaleb wonders how Dominic is so capable of not regretting anything. He wonders how Dominic was able to forget how much he loved him and how much Kaleb loved him more. And at this moment, Kaleb finds out that he still does.