“Where are we going?” he asked, as she carefully manoeuvred the car into a parking spot. They were near a football stadium. And it was empty.
She was smiling tenderly as she killed the engine. “This is our first meeting spot. As in, we always hang out here when we meet back then when we were in school,” she said, reminiscing. “Did it ring any bells?” she asked. He just felt blank, so he shook his head.
“Come on,” she invited and they got out of the car. They walked, him in silence whereby she was talking non-stop showing those places where he used to wait on his bike for her to arrive, where they used to have badminton matches in the early morning and where they would buy breakfast after such games. Finally, the returned to the parking spot, and she spread her hands, gesturing in the general direction of the place.
“This was where we always come to have a talk,” she smiled tenderly as he looked around the place. There was nothing much to see there. It was an empty parking lot, after all. She pointed a spot near a steep bank where there was a small elevated concrete structure that can be seated on. “We burnt some old pictures here, too,” she added with a faraway look in her eyes.
“Why did we do that? Burn the pictures, I mean,” he asked tentatively, as he still felt no stirring of memories at any of the places she had shown or the stories she had told him.
“You hated them, because they were pictures of me with other guys,” she said. “You were quite possessive back then, in a good way,” she added quickly and chuckled almost to herself.
They continued walking and eventually came to a halt at her car. She looked at him with so much love in her eyes, he had to look away, because he did not want her to see that he felt nothing, he remembered nothing, and he could not do anything about it.
“Ben,” she called, so softly, he almost did not hear it. He looked at her, and had to look away again. I love you, I missed you. She almost said, but somehow the words were stuck in her throat. “Do you want to get something to drink?” she asked instead.
He shook his head. “I think I’d better go home.” He said carefully, not wanting to hurt her feelings. She seemed to be thoughtful for a while, but she nodded anyway.
“Ok, I’ll drop you home,” she smiled and started the engine. They drove in silence. He can feel that she wanted to say something but thought better of it. So he didn’t say anything to encourage her. He was not prepared to hear it. He can tell what was it that she’d wanted to say. It was better to let the case rest.
Once they reached his house, he got out of the car. “Thanks” he said. She inclined her head and smiled. “See you,” he added, closing the door between them.
The moment he – without even once looking back at her – got into his house, she rested her head on the steering, and burst into tears.
To be continued...