It took them seconds to notice each other. She stopped. He smiled. She caught up and nodded.
His friends had ignored them after trying to make sense of their quietness. He got up, said hi, went in her direction.
She kept her cool, asked how he was doing. He was fine, dating, as usual. He asked about her. She was better than ever, unusually. He said he missed her, he'd call her to set a date for them to go out. She nodded politely, gave her number. She said she had to go, as if someone was waiting her. He said ok, nice seeing you. As if they were just a couple of strangers.
So she walked off, thinking of having some ice cream and maybe calling her friends for a movie. He watched her slip away. It was when she was almost turning the corner that he yelled:
"When did we become this?"
And she turned, surprised but not at all confused.
"How would I know? You gave up. I just let it go eventually. I couldn't wait any longer"
"I never wanted to give up"
"But that doesn't change the fact that you did"
"I'm sorry" He stepped forward, every person around was looking now. "I never wanted us to be strangers.. to have polite sidewalk conversations. I.."
"I'm sorry too. But you know we can't go back. We'll never be the same again." She half-smiled, half-held-the-tears-inside. "We're not as strong as we wish we were"
"I think we are. And, yeah, ok, maybe we won't be the same. But let us exist again?"
"Us will always exist"
"Then why are you crying?" They were so close now he could easily see her tears.
"I'm not.. I.. Thank you"
And then he hugged her. Like he used to. Like her friend. He hugged her cause he knew what she meant, and he wanted to thank her too. He hugged her cause she was right, things wouldn't be the same, but they could still be. Because they loved each other. Because they could go back to each other when the whole world crumbled. Because, somehow, they were tragic alone, but great together.
Because they were them, no matter how long it had been, and no matter how much it hurt.