Volume Three: Encounter
Do you believe in coincidences? Or do you think that every little thing that happens in your life, every little detail... happens for a reason?
I curse the day, my past self-swore never to love again. Why? Because I know I'm lying to myself.
Today, I went to the coffee shop I work at, believing that today would be just like any other day. But suddenly, it hit me. As I served the customer in front of me, it took a while to realize who the man in front of me was-
My first love.
I remember when I first set my eyes on him - I was a child of eight years, I believe. I remember sitting in front of this tall, odd-looking boy, who I see nothing more than a hindrance to my view of the board.
I wobbled my head back and forth, hoping he would get a clue.
Lucky enough, he did.
He turned around, and then he gave me one of his boyish grins, as if telling me that he actually knew of my struggles and was only toying with me.
"Let's switch!" He said enthusiastically, and at that moment, at THAT exact moment - I thought, "He's not such a bad guy after all."
We started talking after that. His name was Jake. Little Jake likes to play basketball with his friends, soccer if there are more people, and he's mortified with spiders. His family was on the brink of divorce at that time, but I remembered clearly what he said to me.
"I wish I didn't exist. Maybe then they wouldn't have to put up with each other."
Afterwards, I smiled as I recalled what the eight-year-old me with pigtails - did try to comfort him.
I cried for the boy in front of me, who only smiles in front of people. I cried for the boy who must be shivering inside but acts strong for others. I cried for the boy, who wishes he wasn't born.
I scolded him after that. I can't recall the exact words I said to him when we were kids, but I do know what he did after listening. With eyes so red, he pulled his tiny arms around me.
For that moment, I became that child's support.
We couldn't talk after that because the next day he was transferred to New York with his mother. It was in 2003, so kids of our age didn't have fancy iPhones, the way they do now. We had no contact with each other, but I knew that if I were to see him again, I'll remember him.
And this morning, I saw him. Standing at around six feet, his black hair was short, compared to the curly ones he had before. The dimple that I used to stare at a lot, was still intact, along with the small birthmark resting on his neck.
He has definitely grown. He was handsome too.
But there's one thing I felt scared about... "What if he doesn't remember me?"
It scared me to confront him, thinking that he might not remember me. I mean, think about it, the last time I saw him was ten years ago. I had ponytails back then.
So politely, I said to him, "Hi there, can I get your order?"
His light blue eyes never laid his eyes on me, but the menu sitting idly on top.
"Just some coffee," he said, "and maybe a croissant."
"That would be $2.20," I said to him, disappointed, "thank you."
However, something else happened.
When I turned around to get his order, something strong grabbed my arm. The coffeehouse was quite empty at the time, so there could only be one.
When I looked, a pair of blue eyes were staring straight to mine. His forehead crunched, and he tilted as if he was trying to fight a voice in his head.
"...Tracy?" He whispered. "Is that you? Do you... remember me?"
At that moment, I thought I was in the movies. I mean, wouldn't this be considered of the cliches? But I didn't care.
I nodded, and afterwards we talked. Jake had come back from New York a month ago to finish university. He decided to come alone, as he could not call his parents who have both decided to remarry.
"I like to believe that every family should be happy," he said to me as he broke his croissant in half to give to me, "but I guess we can't force things. Besides, I like the independence."
I smiled at him. "You haven't changed, you know."
He gave me a smirk, "Neither have you."
No, this isn't a fiction story where we magically end up together.
This is real life.
It turns out that Jake has a girlfriend of two years, and as you know, I prefer not to be in any relationships. But hey, it makes me happy to know that he turned out to be a great guy. I could tell that he was the playboy type, but it feels good that my first love wasn't blaming himself anymore.
And that itself - was magic enough.