If you think falling in love is scary, wait till you try falling out of it.
There he stood in front of me, unsure, unprepared, almost reminiscent of that breezy afternoon 2 years and 8 months ago.
Similarly today, the dandelions swayed in chorus to the wind's unseen fingers, watched over by a passing parade of cotton clouds. A hint of sweetness from the grass wafted in the air. I always loved the feeling of ticklish grass under my bare feet. It was such a pity I had to have shoes on today.
To the eyes, ears and nose, nothing had changed. But to the heart, everything had.
"Why do you keep saying things are different?" he inched forward. "What is?"
I avoided his gaze. I didn't know what to say.
2 years and 8 months ago, everything was so much simpler. He was my best friend who told me that he had a crush on me. At that time, I was just so tired of boys and relationships. The more he cared for me, the more I found him annoying. But the more I couldn't get him out of my mind.
One fateful afternoon amidst the dandelions, I said yes to him.
Everyone said that we were perfect for each other. The couple who were meant to be. Even our teachers said that we would get married.
As girls usually do, I fell headlong into love. Though I was a pretty awful cook, I would make him his favourite sandwiches and spaghetti for breakfast from time to time. In return, he gave me sweet cards with cute doodles and scribbled poems that made absolutely no sense to anyone but the two of us.
Unlike normal couples, we didn't quite fancy shopping malls, cinemas and the like. Instead, our favourite pastimes consisted of incredibly boring activities such as eating ice cream, taking walks in parks and trying different mamak stalls (yes, MAMAK STALLS). As one may observe from our choice of interests, one thing we shared in common was our love for talking. Most of my friends found me annoying as I had this tendency to ramble on and on about utterly random and incomprehensible topics. However, he was one of the few who always could make sense of me and keep our conversations alive. His energy, wit and intelligence were nothing short of inspiring.
Deep down, I always had this fear that he would someday change and find me annoying. He was a man destined for great things, I knew. He would probably want to study or work overseas. I didn't want to be a stupid girl clinging on and holding him back.
Life's funny that way sometimes. Eventually I was the one who changed. I was the one who left.
After we graduated, I was sent to an outstation university while he managed to continue his studies locally. I immersed myself into this scary yet exciting new world out on my own. New friends, new sights and new experiences left their mark in my life. Though I always held on dearly to the memories of school, it was very clearly a past chapter. And he was a very huge part of that chapter. My heart didn't know how to take him along into this new beginning.
We continued to keep in touch through SMS, MSN, Skype and all. Nine times out of ten, he would be the one who said hi to me first. I tried to respond lovingly, but I knew I wasn't sincere. He knew too. Most of our calls became nothing more than formalities and an exhausting cycle of arguments and apologies. I would always blame busyness and adjustment for acting this way, but in truth I was hopelessly confused. I didn't know why I no longer missed him or felt reluctant to pick up his calls. Many nights I just cried and wish things hadn't become so complicated.
"I know we're going through a tough time." One of his SMSes read. "But I promise I won't ever change the way I feel for you. I will give you all the love and support you need, and wait for you back here."
Please don't, I thought. I don't deserve such love. I'm a horrible person.
And he kept his word. He never changed. Through his blog and Facebook, I constantly caught glimpses of his joy and passion for life that attracted me to him in the first place. The lame jokes, the heartwarming creativity, the wisdom behind his words, the way he loved others as himself.
But I had changed. I was no longer a schoolgirl in a prefect's uniform holding hands with him, sipping bubble ice tea and chasing dragonflies. I stopped looking forward to his SMSes or calls. I hated the way he always wanted to fix problems in our relationship. I felt tired of trying so hard to become a better girlfriend, and supporting him in becoming a better boyfriend.
I...fell out of love.
Now as the dandelions watched, I had to let go.
"Please," He was almost about to cry, but I knew he wanted to stay strong for me. "I still love you."
"I do, too...but..."
"We can't go on like this."
"We can. Just trust me. We can."
"No. No. Not for now."
He sniffed, pretending it was a runny nose.
I tried my best to stay expressionless. "I need to go home now. Bye."
He mouthed bye.
As I turned and walked back to my car, a mischievous breeze ran through my hair and made it fall messily over my eyes. I paused and realised that I had to fix it myself.
Just like that, 2 years and 8 months passed.