She came to see me one time. We met on the street, down her flat. She was very busy. A dancer with a fully booked schedule. Not surprising. She was a fine performer and had a look to steal everybody's eyes.
We walked slowly down the street. She didn't say anything. At some point, she motioned me to hold her in my arms. We stayed like that for a long moment. I felt her tiny body, her tight back muscles; my hands could almost cover both her shoulder plates. There are things that will never be said. Tracy just smiled and gave me a little kiss. I rarely would allow myself to get so close to a female friend.
William called a little after 11PM. I was surprised to see his name appearing on my phone. I thought that after last message I left him ten days ago, we would slowly drift apart for good.
"Hello? Is this An? I am William..." I heard a deep and slow voice say.
"Can I come and see you? Tonight?" I didn't need to ask the reason. Muffled hints of hope awoke in me as I heard his voice, but I kept my composure and replied coolly with polite answers.
Not even fifteen minutes later, the phone rang again. William was there. Ryan and Adrian watched me leave the house with some amusement.
William was standing on the street, dressed in a tuxedo, naturally elegant, as always. He appraised me with one look as I was walking toward him.
"How are you?" he asked. "Long time no see!"
"Yes... It's been months... So why did you suddenly call me?"
"I just wanted to see you."
"Where can we go?" I asked.
We weren't particularly hungry or thirsty - William had just left from an annual company dinner party.
"We can go to the river" he suggested.
The riverside was the place where we exchanged our first kiss, a year and a half ago. Was he trying to find the perfect setting for a romantic scene?
We walked side by side in silence for a little while, with just enough distance between us.
The wind was starting to blow stronger. There wasn't a single soul outside except the occasional die-hard jogger who braves all kinds of weathers for his daily routine.
"So why do you want to see me tonight?" I asked
"I wanted to see you..." Same reply. I knew he could say more. But would he?
"You know there is no point for us to meet if the situation doesn't change. There's nothing that I say now that you don't already know."
"I know." For William, speaking in English isn't the most ideal situation, and as a result, he doesn't say much. But I could feel from him all the muted words.
"I'm very happy to see you. But then what? Time will pass by and I will see you again late in the night in five months?"
"Maybe less, maybe four months" William joked.
"You know it isn't easy for me to forget you. But this isn't helping me, us..."
More time passed. There was nothing more to add, just one thing to confirm.
"So what do you see for us?" I asked eventually.
William's reply was the same: to see me. I pushed him to develop his answer. He confessed that he was struggling, whence his last minute cancellations or change of plan, whenever we were to meet.
He knew, despite his claims, that I could not have a real place in his life as long as he doesn't change his life arrangement.
"I may have a place in your life, but in your head only." I said as a half-joke. "In your head you can make all the space you want. In your physical life, I'm not there... So my question is: what is there for us?"
William didn't give any answer. But the very fact that he came to see me tonight was already so meaningful to me. The situation wasn't easy for him, he could only show how much he cared. I was starting to get used accustomed to the thought of not seeing him anymore.
I also realised these issues were twisting our relationship and my mind was no longer set to enjoy but to expect... nothing. So time could take more and more space in between each of our encounters.
We kept on walking. The night was getting cold and the wind was blowing much more strongly. Even though we were talking about us, I had remained fairly distant. William was waiting for the moment where the physical connection could be made again.
"And what do you feel about me?" he asked suddenly.
"You know that. No matter how hard I try, it's still you..."
Before I could reply, he stopped walking, took me by the waist and locked me tightly in his arm. The embrace lasted a long time. I could see the deserted playground in the dark, I could hear the murmur of the river, I could feel the reed in the wind.
"I'm really sorry..." William said softly in my ears. If music had started to play then I wouldn't have been surprised. The sight of William and I embracing in the middle of the night by the river with the wind blowing placed the moment out of an ordinary life.
In the dream, Tracy and I exchanged that embrace before she disappeared from my life. I would later find out that she had died in a shipwreck.
In my life, William came to meet me before I'd disappear from his.