I slouched into my seat as the bus slowly made its way out of the business district, watching as the lights outside glimmered brighter as the night grew darker. The bus was only about a quarter full, the few passengers in it either dozing or fiddling with their phones. Most of the city had fled much earlier, leaving the workaholics and the tourists and the people in love to remain late into the night, making the city their own. I was none of those, but I was leaving late nevertheless, and I breathed a soft sigh to myself. My throat felt tight and I was exhausted, all of the earlier merriment and laughter drained away from me.
My reasons for the night out with Amy were entirely selfish. Yes, I had wanted to see her, and yes, she was a good friend, but she was also a friend I hadn’t seen in a while who didn’t know of the ridiculous tangle of non-relationships I had gotten myself into. I hadn’t wanted to talk about Evan or my feelings or how I managed to complicate the uncomplicated.
The past was the past and I should let it go. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t even want to think about it.
I hadn’t lied to Amy, not technically, but saying everything was fine was as far away from the truth as it could possibly be. There was nothing going on with me and Evan, like there was definitely nothing going on with Jay, but there were so much sentiment threaded into the whole situation that the only thing I wanted to do was to run away from it all.
The mess I was in sounded more and more like a plot of an anime when I recounted it in my head: girl meets boy as a child and he leaves, meets again in school only to realise that he’s not in love with her. And everyone knows that the childhood friend would never get the boy; it’s probably a cliché because it was true.
Stupid, I thought, banging my head against the window, breaking the silence and the cyclical self-flagellation going on in my mind. An older woman across the aisle looked at me askance, but I just gave her a wan smile. She went back to her reading, shaking her head.
The glittering lights of the city transitioned to the evenly spaced out street lamps of the suburbs as the minutes passed by. The cars thinned out as we came closer to our stop, though any time earlier in the day it would’ve been congested, teeming with vehicles and people.
My phone buzzed as the bus took the final turn into the terminal. I glanced at it, already knowing it was Amy. Let’s go to the mountains, it said. This weekend. You and me.
I typed in two letters, OK, and let the screen go dark.
A not quite direct continuation to you and me, coffee and tea.