It had been a late night, again. I came home from work and saw that all the lights were off. Matt had left a little note on the counter telling me there was pasta in the fridge if I was hungry but I wasn’t. The past few hours had been something I didn’t expect.
It was a mundane day. I woke up at 8 A.M., put on the news to hear about another scandal that would later be the source of my jokes at work. I worked on a painting I had started a few weeks ago and made progress. Matt, my roommate, had left much earlier than usual. An early start at the office before he had to head off to the airport. The two people who were going to spend a year at his father’s law firm were arriving today. They were staying with us, of course, because Matt didn’t have the heart to tell them to stay at a hotel because what’s the need when you have an apartment?
After a wonderful lunch of leftover salad, I went to my room for a nap. Surprisingly, I woke up to chatter in the living room. Apparently I had slept off and Matt was home with our guests. I looked at the clock and realised, I had to get ready for work! Quickly throwing on a pair of jeans and a white shirt while grabbing my khaki jacket and shoving my laptop into my messenger bag, I headed towards the door.
When I got to the living room, I saw a shaggy mop of black hair and a lady with long black hair sitting next to each other. Matt sitting in front of them and laughing.
“Josie! Hey, come here!”, Matt said after realising that I was standing there.
With that, the two strangers turned their heads to face me. As cliche as it sounds, I felt the wind being knocked out of me. There he sat, the boy I spent most of high school thinking about. The same shaggy black hair and big brown eyes staring at me. Sat next to him, was the woman I assume was his girlfriend. His girlfriend from back when we were in high school. Nevertheless, I plastered a smile on my face and went to meet them.
“Oh, hello!”, I said, “Nice to see you again, and you, I’ve heard so much about you!”
The boy seemed startled while the girl looked confused.
“Hey! Wow, how are you? It’s been a while.” he said while trying to comprehend what was happening.
“You two know each other?” Matt questioned, it was safe to say he was a little confused by this.
“Yeah, we were friends back in school actually.” I replied, not willing to supply any more information.
After a few moments of silence and unspoken thoughts lingering in the air, I realised I was getting late for work.
“Oh wow, look at that! I wish we could chat some more but I’ve really got to get to work now.”
For what seems like the first time since I walked in and just before I was about to turn my heel, she finally spoke up. “So what is it that you do?”
“I’m a comedy writer at the Late Night show. I help write the monologues and the news segment.”
She looked a little surprised while Matt smiled a little. I, on the other hand, was ready to get out of there. My heart was beating so fast, I’m surprised no one else could hear it.
“Are you alright Josie, you seem a little off?” Matt asked as if noticing my discomfort.
“Me? Yeah, I’m perfectly alright. Nothing a little elevator cry can’t fix. No time to think about that though, I have got to get to work. Can’t be bothered with anything else right now.” If it seemed a little forced or odd, no one said anything.
The man nervously chuckled while the woman beside him looked as if she was trying to figure me out.
“Well, I’m off now, have a lovely evening and hey Matt? Leave me some food please.” I gave a tight smile before grabbing my keys and heading out the door.
I rushed to the elevator, pressed the button and leaned against the walls. It felt absolutely unreal. I had no idea I would be seeing him again. Everything that had happened in the past few years had crushed me. Me being me, I pushed everything down and didn’t think I’d see him again. If I did, those feelings I had would never be there. But boy, was I wrong. Everything I had suppressed hit me like a ton of bricks. The elevator door opened and I made my walk to the studio.
Which brings me to now. 2 A.M. and I had just gotten home. Everyone is obviously asleep. I dropped my bag on the couch and made my way to the kitchen. Once I got my mug of hot chocolate, I went through the slanted door that leads to the little balcony that looks over the back alley. It gives off a very ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S.’ vibe if you ask me. The streetlights provide a dim glow to the mostly empty street. A cat is sitting on the dumpster and it too has retired for the day. The sound of buzzing cars was far off in the distance. And as for me, I sat in the wicker chair basking in the silence the night had to offer.
I was so engrossed in thought that I didn’t hear the slight movement of the glass door and the shuffle of the feet. It was only until he came close to me that I heard him say, “Did you just get back home?”
His husky voice sounded strained and but it still managed to startle me. I didn’t say anything, only nodded a little. I could feel my palms become a little clammy. Nothing was said, nothing had to be said. I could feel him staring at me as I gazed out into the empty street. It was about an eternity later when he finally said,
“I’m sorry. I’ve missed you.”
A breath I didn’t know I was holding left my lips.
“I’ve missed you too”, I said, with a slight chuckle.
That was all that had to be said before he occupied the seat next to me. So there we sat, side by side, two estranged friends looking over a dark alleyway at two in the morning. For just that moment, it felt right. Sitting next to him in that moment where no words were exchanged and no thoughts clouded the serene beauty of the night, it felt right.