Part I can be read here.
Before she knew it, she was 8,370 miles from her entire world. Even with the thrill of being in some place new distracting her, her thoughts would circle back to him. She wondered what it would be like to have him there by her side. As time went on with every new experience, she could sense him lingering in the back of her mind.
“We have a connection,” He told her one night in the car when it seemed that they had to come to an ultimatum.
The Twin Towers were visible in her peripheral vision, but the sheer beauty of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline failed to capture her attention. Her gaze was fixed solely on him. His words were the most cliché thing she had ever heard in my life, which led her to scoff in response.
“What does that even mean?” She half laughed, half spat in disgust.
He stole a quick glance off the road to look at her, “We just do.”
She never truly understood what that meant until she left home indefinitely. Friends would ask how she felt, but how could she even begin to encapsulate that feeling of home? That feeling of fitting the last piece into a puzzle, looking at it in its entirety. Conversations with him flowed naturally, nothing ever felt forced or awkward.
As time and circumstance would have it, she found herself facing him after a year back where it all started.
His overall appearance lacked change, except for his dark curly hair that grazed his shoulders. Another reminder that time was not on her side.
One thing did remain the same. His dark brown eyes that always held a tinge of sadness. It was a kind of sadness that accumulated over time. Family members can do that to a person, especially when they are your parents. When he talked about his father, there was always a trace of bitterness mixed with anger that ended in a punch line. He was used to people leaving him, particularly those he held close to his heart.
“My mom is sick,” he said at one point during their last encounter as he casually picked up a dumpling, “she won’t tell me what it is.” His tone suggested a joke, but she knew better.
Words escaped her. She instinctively reached out to hold him.
“America is out of the picture now,” he muttered.
“It is overrated anyways,” she began. “There are so many opportunities here that you can explore.”
He nodded, as he began telling her all the chances that were bestowed upon him.
That was the last conversation they ever had. If only, she knew. Maybe then the anger and hurt would not have boiled up inside her, eating at her thoughts every second of every minute of every hour. Tears would involuntarily flow down her face when she talked to her best friend, the only person who has ever seen her cry.
Sadness turned to incessant anger, building up to bitterness. A close friend that met him through her had seemingly replaced her.
“Oh yes, Joshua told me…” was the only way she could find out anything about him.
She was no longer a part of his life, neither was he in hers. Their paths have forked off into opposite directions, although it was of his choosing.
Perhaps he left because he would rather be the one to do so, this time, around. His dad leaving left a mark deeper than anything both of them would ever be able to comprehend. It was the only explanation she could think of. Maybe in time, his wounds would heal. So would hers. She hopes they do.
She used to roll her eyes at that very line, thinking her heart would never be whole again, but after the changing of four seasons, she knows better now. The dark cloud that lingered over her has lifted. The skies are clear and the rays of light are finally peeking through.
She can finally breathe again.