I was halfway through my walk when it started raining. Mid-spring, the wind was still freezing cold for me, a creature from the Equator. I got back before you did and was all bundled up, drying my hair in front of the tv when you returned.
“Give me that.” A soft shove and I was on the floor, somewhat shocked. But you just went ahead and sat down, the damp towel back on my head with your hands on it.
I don’t remember the last time anyone had dried my hair like you did. Not even my parents. I made a half-hearted attempt to stop you but it felt good to just sit back and enjoy the treatment. Never have I thought of having a guy dry my hair being one of the reasons to keep it long.
“I bet you do this to all the girls who came here.”
That’s how we’ve always been, dancing on the edges of emotional entanglement and yet keeping a safe distance. Being in different time zones was another reason I tell myself why it wouldn’t work, despite the attraction and affection I feel for him.
“All done, princess,” his words brought me back to the apartment.
“I’m hungry, what’s for dinner?” was all I could reply without making a fool of myself.
Another evening walk, my last before I leave for home the next day. I kept thinking of the letter I’ve been carrying in my bag the whole time I’ve been here, never having the courage to hand it over to the intended receiver. The pessimist in me believes that I will not have my some kind of wonderful with you. That has always been my ending. Friendzoned is a term I have come to accept when it comes to the guys in my life, no matter how genuine the connection I thought we had.
Despite all my misgivings, I felt that I had to take the risk of losing you entirely. It might have been the Irises I found at the market on the corner near your place. In another country, quite a while back, I got to know the spring flower and came to love it. In Greek mythology, Iris is said to be the goddess of the rainbow, who acted as a messenger of the gods. Yeah, it was probably the flowers that made me do it.
You brought work home, a rare occasion for Mr. Efficient. I didn’t want to interrupt, I finished packing and was staring at the letter for a good while before I made my decision.
“This is for you. I’m going for a walk,” I said quickly before turning to leave. You were much quicker, taking my right wrist as I turned. “Shit.” That was my brain. My heart went on a roller coaster and I just froze.
“Sit with me, please,” the soft request sounded like a booming thunder. Freaking out was an option I didn’t want to choose so I just sat.
You kept my right hand in yours and I focussed on them while you read, a kaleidoscope of my week with you going through my mind. The walks, the conversations, you with a 24-hour bug making me breakfast when I wanted to do it for you and then insisting I keep my appointments while you sleep for the rest of the day. Our flea market Sunday, when the sun was out and the park was beautiful instead of gloomy and grey.
A tug on my right hand but I still couldn’t look up.
“Thank you for this,” those four words and the hint of a smile gave me a bit of courage, although I was still dreading what to come after.
“You are a great friend and I do care for you. But friendship is all I have to give.”
I might have nodded or responded in some other way, I don’t remember. I was suddenly enveloped in a warm hug and I wished I could stay wrapped in that warmth forever. Because I finally understood the meaning of your words.