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1

72 Hours

Calling. I'm shivering. What's going to happen now? "Hey-" you say over the line. Silence.

"May I?"
- "Yes"

I never thought this moment would ever come. I never thought I'll get to talk to you once again.
Sitting in my quiet corner of the neighborhood park, staring at your picture on WhatsApp, my finger shivering as I'm looking at the button with your phone number on it.
4 years have passed. Thoughts fill my head but flood my heart. Will she even talk to me? So much has changed...

Is fate trying to reconnect us? I didn't expect you to answer. I didn't even think we would have the chance to text, that you'd send that message. I never imagined you would even read the note I left at your door. What happened?

In an impulsive yet considered act, I press the button. I'm sweating, and not just because I've just run. I feel my body shaking. What is going to happen in a few seconds?
"Hey," you say over the line

Silence.

All I manage to say is a stuttered "hey".
"Wow, it's been so long..."
- "Yes. Too long" I say.

More silence.

"I'm sorry, just"
- "It's ok", you cut me off, slightly giggling.
"Umm... Erm.... " I'm still stuttering. Feels like forever. An eternity of thoughts, what am I going to say? What will happen then?

"I guess you've already forgotten me, huh?" - trying to tell the most terrible jest I can.
- "Actually, I didn't quite"
Wow. I didn't think she would remember.
"Well, actually, I wanted to see you only to apologize" - I'm trying to say without making myself look pathetic.

Four years have passed. Neither of us really remembers. But the feelings remain, at least in my heart.
"I'm still a bit ashamed of the way I've been talking to you back then"
- "Umm... I don't really remember" you say. What a relief. Maybe now it will be easier to talk to you.
- "Well, actually, me neither". I lie. But I can't say anything else. "But it probably wasn't nice if it still bothers me 'till today, right?"

I can hear the surprise in your voice. You didn't expect me to call just for an apology. I'm so pathetic!
The conversation is getting loose. We're going to hang up, but I can't let that happen.
No. Not until I managed to talk to you. I'm not going to lose it now.

"So... That's it?" you ask.
"No! Umm... Wait..." - I stutter. "Actually, I must admit" - I have no idea what to say.
I'm trying to continue: "I kinda miss the old neighborhood, you know?"

More than three years have passed since I left the old neighborhood. I wonder if she still remembers how much fun we had there when we were little kids. "Galapagos", we called our group. Wow, what a nostalgia.

- "Yeah, wow... Listen, when you wrote in the letter 'Galapagos' at the end..."
A short moment of silence. "So, I don't know why, but I thought just about you".

Jesus. She remembers? Emotions are flooding my heart. I can hardly talk.

"You know, I must admit I really missed you". I can't believe I didn't say that. I just couldn't. I'm such a coward. Dang.

"I don't want it to go on like that anymore. It hurts me, seeing you at school and ignoring you. It's just so weird..." - That one I actually say.

"Yeah..." you say. "Also on the bus, when I occasionally see you. It's weird."

It's becoming awkward again. This time, I can't hold the conversation anymore.
We're ending the call, with you promising that "from today and on, a different relationship."

Hang up.

Silence.

The nights before the conversation were sleepless. I couldn't sleep.
But it's going to end, right? Right. It has to. The "impossible" is behind me already. Right? Right.

But it isn't.

Another sleepless night. And another one. I have my final exam tomorrow. I can't come tired.
But I come tired. I couldn't sleep.

But why? Even after we talked. I'm not stressed, right?

I don't know.

I'm going for my evening run, like every day. On my way back home, my feet just take me to my corner at the park. I'm running the conversation we had in my mind again and again.
I wish I could go back to that moment, 72 hours ago. Just to hear you again. To tell you that I miss you. Not to quail again.

Silence.

A girl passes by. I look back, it's not you. What was I thinking? A man and his dog pass by. I probably look eccentric. But that's the last thing to bother me right now.

Thoughts flood me. Why am I not happy? I seem to have everything: I'm appreciated, my family is wealthy, I have good friends, I'm smart.
But I'm missing something. I don't feel loved. I haven't for four years.
Do you remember?
Wow. So much time has passed... Feels like forever.

I look at the dark night sky. Alone. Only the stars accompany me. And you, of course, in my mind.

Alone. Silence.

I decide to stand up, to leave. They're probably waiting for me at home. I hope they're not worried. For how long have I been sitting here?
I'm leaving my corner, starting to walk by the wide open lawns that remind me of my childhood. Our childhood. Then it occurs to me. It's not loneliness I feel, but longings.

"I love you" - I whisper to the air, frustrated. You'll no longer be there with me.

Silence.

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