I can still remember how moved I was by you, your calm, your depth, your shy smile. We met a few times. I started growing increasingly impatient for the next  one each time we said goodbye. It seemed that you had such a desire to share and a fear of being rejected too. I first thought you only wanted to be friends, then realised you were interested in a little more than that. We went to that bar and the only table left was in this tiny corner. There was so little space we could not sit without our legs touching. At first, I tried to avoid them, my hands resting on my knees. Then, I felt your hand brushing against mine under the table. Your eyes told me it was intentional. Had you pressed my hand harder, you would have felt my heartbeat pulsing through my fingers. We started talking about it. You told me you were in love with your boyfriend, that the two of you had an arrangement. Holding my hand, you also said that you cared about me deeply even though we hadn’t known each other for a long time. You tried to kiss me as we said goodbye that night. But I left without giving you a chance.  

I needed to process. I felt excited but also scared and confused. I’d never had a “friend with benefits” but I wanted to know more of you. I decided to give it a try. And as to the pressure in my chest, I remembered I was about to leave the country. I figured the distance would leave me with no choice but to move on eventually.  One of the last times we met, we took a very long walk. You opened up about your past. You gave me a glimpse of your childhood and I thought about how unsafe you must have been, how you probably had to grow up at a very young age. I looked at you and thought about the resilience you had had to build to be the person standing in front of me then. And it struck me.  

Rarely before had I felt that someone could understand me as well as you did. Rarely before had I heard an echo of my own story from someone else’s lips. Perhaps our voices resonated. Just before I left, we met for the last time. My apartment was already completely empty. In the past year, I’ve gone back to that room often. Closing my eyes, I could tread my way back in. Your voice and the many songs you shared still resonated against the naked walls.  

Time has gone by and voicing these thoughts to you makes little sense now. Grieving the unspoken words is the next step I take. And it leads outside the room.