mocha latte.

“How do you fall out of love with someone who once meant the world to you?”

She had asked me at the cafe a few days ago when we ‘coincidentally’ dined in at the same cafe you had been dining in for the past 7 years. Don’t ask me how I know that — I just do.

“You can’t.”

I had looked directly at you, but you hadn’t notice. Maybe you had, but you just pretended not to because you didn’t want to know. Well, it’s fine. I do that sometimes myself.

come to think of it, it’s been nearly 7 years and you still cross my mind every single day. your name still tastes bitter on my tongue; my body burned in all the places you once touched me. you left ugly scars.

how could you?

how selfish of you.

Today, you were there again. Last night, I’d decided that this would be the day I was going to do this and settle whatever disputes we had between us once and for all.

I’m tired of this. I think we all are.

“Hey,” I approached you with a broad smile and invited myself to sit at the table where you were sitting all alone with a cup of Mocha Latte. I felt my heart melt a little. Before me, I knew you never liked coffee. You only started liking it after I liked it.

“I haven’t talked to you in a while.” I smiled.

“We should’ve kept it that way.” Your reply was flat. Empty. Void of feelings. “We used to talk too much.”

I was at a loss for words. Out of all the thousands of conversations I’ve imagined that could have come out of this, this was the one that I least expected.

I guess I just never felt so shunned by you before. you always seemed happy to see me; it felt weird to have you talk to me in such a way that it was as though you couldn’t be bothered with me anymore. even though things were my fault.

I know I can’t blame you, but I do. because once you’re done with blaming yourself for the things you did, you begin to find the next easiest person to blame —

— and in this case, that was you.

I guess when you care too much about someone they tend to screw you over.

same for me, same for you.

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

You went back to drinking your cup of latte, flipping open a magazine lying on your table to a page about the recent dwarf star — Kepler-186f, was it? — that mimicked Earth in so many ways it might actually be able to sustain life. I snorted. You were evidently not interested in this article. You never were interested in astronomy, after all. I remember when something like this came out a few years ago, all you said to me was:

“Why are humans still trying to find other planets to destroy? Isn’t Earth already enough?”

You never understood astronomy, and you didn’t like it in the least bit. You were always a bit of a nature lover; an environmentalist. This kind of articles were probably the last things you’ll ever read voluntarily, I reckon. I wanted to call you out on that, but I decided to hold my tongue.

Sometimes people pretend, and you just let them.

I looked at your eyes but your eyes averted away from mine, staring, unfocused, on that piece of article I know you weren’t reading. It’s been a while, but you’re still the same, I guess.

You still run away from things you don’t want to confront. I still run straight into things because I do.

And then you looked up (to my surprise) and I regretted.

Because once I saw those coffee brown eyes, I knew I never once let you go. Not now, not ever. Not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t.

Because after all, how do you let go of someone who used to be all you ever lived for?

most people compare eyes to things like oceans or galaxies. yours reminded me of coffee. maybe that was why it hit me so hard when you left; you were like coffee in the morning — I was addicted, and I couldn’t get through my days without you.

I still yearn for the days when your eyes used to light up when I spoke, for that tender attentiveness, that lighthearted laugh; you hung on to my every word.

how come it’d never occurred to me before?

you won’t even look at me now.

it is my fault; all mine.

“Stop staring. It’s awkward.” You finally spoke. I was pulled out of my own thoughts. I cleared my throat.

“Oh,” was all I said.

You finally closed the magazine — I don’t even think a word of whatever you just read got into your head — and you looked at me.

We made eye contact for the first time in 7 years.

I still remember the first day we met.

The first time I looked into your eyes, I couldn’t take mine off them. oh god, your eyes — they were so beautiful; they seem to stare right through me, that soft gaze tinted with a hint of sadness and loneliness. it’s almost as though you can see the mixed up parts of my soul, the dustiest corners of my mind; it was like you understood me in a way I couldn’t even understand myself. you made me feel like I’m worth something more than I make myself out to be — and I loved you for that.

I still do.

but do you?

“Shoot.”

“What?”

“Why are you suddenly talking to me after 7 whole years of pretending I don’t exist? Are you coming back now because you have nobody else to go to and you think I’m going to let you come back?” you said it so monotonously I was slightly taken aback by how indifferent you have become. Was it because of me?

“Don’t forget, you were the one who broke up with me,” you muttered. I felt a pang of guilt shoot through me. You were right. I asked for this.

“I…” I started but I couldn’t find it in myself to continue. What a pathetic excuse for a human being, me; going back to somebody whom I used to love (or still do) for the sheer fact that I can’t find myself loving anybody else after you.

but how do you say that aloud?

you were the only person who could make me feel so much. I see your shadow in everyone I meet. I was driving myself insane and because I knew shadows leave in the dark I found myself desperately seeking love in everybody I find when night came — because it was the only way that trace of you vanishes and I could find myself learning to love again.

but when the sun rises and I open my eyes to a stranger; somebody who’s not you, your shadow seeps back into that poor vessel and I fall for you all over again.

but how do I say this to you? how do I tell you that the reason why I’m coming back isn’t because I have nobody else to go to, but because I can’t let go of you? how do I tell you that I’ve been looking for you in everyone I meet and now, I’m tired?

I’m really tired.

we all are.

“I just…” you raised your eyebrow expectantly. “…regretted.”

I cringed internally at my lack of subtleness at handling this.

“Regret?” the sides of your lip twitched involuntarily at this word. You were scoffing — I knew you long enough for that. “You know how to regret?”

I felt a sting in my heart, but also a sense of annoyance. Finally, I lost my cool.

“I’m trying to make up for you here, don’t you get it? I just want us to be alright again, is it so hard?” I blurted out, visibly annoyed. “I didn’t break up with you because I lost feelings for you, I did it because you deserved so much better. I thought I could let go of you but I can’t and it’s killing me and all I want right now is for us to clear the air and at least…just be friends, alright?”

I was shaking so hard at my emotional outburst, it took me a few seconds to catch my breath. I’m going to regret this, I mentally chided myself.

But I had already started; I might as well end it.

“I’m…sorry, okay?”

My voice broke in the end. Oh god, I hate myself. I wish I could hide in a hole and never come out. Before this I was still telling myself to stay strong and not do anything I’ll regret, and half a minute later I’m on the verge of breaking down in front of someone who probably doesn’t even give a hoot about me anymore.

Can I hide? I want to die.

You breathed in sharply. For a moment, your eyes softened — just the slightest — and I thought you were going to relent; until:

“Too late,” you said.

“Huh?”

“7 years too late.” You turned away from me and proceeded to get out of the chair you were sitting in.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard my own heart shatter so loud.

you know how sometimes you make a mistake and it haunts you forever even though you’ve already tried your best to rectify that mistake you made?

yeah.

I was the one who broke up with you, yet all I feel is this lingering sense of…loss.

I just wished we’d cleared the air that day. I didn’t cheat on you, I swear, even though it would’ve seemed like it. We were fighting, and he was just there, and I thought I liked him because he made me feel so…happy — but once he tried to kiss me, I realize I don’t feel for him the same way I feel for you.

sometimes you think you like this one person, then you realize you’re entirely in love with another.

you didn’t blame it on me straight away — you gave me a second chance. But I yelled at you, because I was so angry with myself; I told you you were stupid to have trusted me, that I never loved you and things I shouldn’t have said because I never meant them — and it did what I wanted you to do — leave.

maybe it was because I loved you much more than I loved myself I wanted you to find someone better. maybe it was because I loved you so much — when you left, it felt like a piece of me was gone as well.

I don’t think I was ever quite complete without you.

“Wait.” I bit my lip. I shouldn’t say anything at this point of time, I know that, but I just needed to make sure.

He sighed. “What do you want now?”

He sounded exasperated; yet I was too desperate to care.

“Do you still love me?”

it was a question that has been lingering on my mind for a while now.

love…it’s such a magical word. is there even a possibility that he still bore feelings for me after 7 long years? he’s such an idiot, he just might.

then again, I still love him, after all. 7 years later and he’s still the one I want. I don’t think you can ever stop loving somebody you used to love.

…I think I’m the idiot.

You stopped in your tracks. You didn’t reply.

I felt my heart deflate. Maybe I was wrong.

“Sorry for bothering,” I started to walk away dejectedly. If I spoke anymore I am going to cry, I know it. I could already feel my eyes starting to well up with tears, when —

“Yes.”

I felt my heart stop.

I still think about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘almosts’ and what I would have done differently if I had a second chance. would things be different? would it ultimately still have amounted to this?

I guess all that’s left is sorries and regrets and things we could’ve done but didn’t because we were all too busy too afraid too…comfortable.

but what do we do now?

You finally looked at me in the eyes and for the first time in 7 years, I saw the warm gentle eyes with that soft gaze come back in this man I know. That was when I knew that no matter how much you hated me, I still loved you the same.

“I…” I was scared, honestly. What if you reject?

Trying to go back to your ex is probably one of life’s greatest mistakes, or so they say. We broke up for a reason. Going back to someone you used to love is stupid, and it’s a recipe for heartbreak. Why look back when you can move forward?

But I couldn’t care less about it now at this moment — we hold more regrets about the things we didn't do than the things we did; and I’m not going to let you slip me by a second time. Once is enough.

“Yes?” You asked. Your voice is softer now, not as hard as when I first approached you earlier today. Is that a good sign? I hope so.

I took a deep breath and —

you know, life is a strange thing. sometimes it makes us build arduous paths just for ourselves to walk through it, only for us to come back to square one.

why do things work in such a sad, seamless circle?

then again, maybe it’s not that much of a bad thing.

“Can we try again?” I asked.

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