With the sun slipping behind charcoal outlined buildings she exhales and clutches her sweater tighter. Knuckles white against her brown sweater, holding in the last bit of heat from the day. The roof had grown cold, the chill air sinking in around her like the sun behind the London Gherkin. Plums and golden yellows reflecting off of its mirrored surface, showing off the last bit of color before a darkened night.
It was the same as last year, every year on this day. She watched the skyline of London permeate color and thought of how it all could be different. She had tried to tell him, tried to say that being “just friends” wasn’t enough. Thinking back on their holiday two years ago, a soft chuckle escapes her rouged lips and she smiles. The way they had laughed together, he and his beautiful face always watching her. Waiting to see if she would laugh and be pleased with him. The days of soaking up sun on perfect white beaches and nights of generally too much bad alcohol and bad food. She had tried to tell him then, told him she had liked him throughout college. But they had both said the wrong thing. Too afraid to change what they had grown so comfortable being. Friends. Just two people that cared for each other and were always there to pull you through. The one person she could always depend on to be there for her, in one way or another. Some years it was only in a phone message. Or flowers. But he never forgot her.
And now, all these years later after she had finally pulled her life out of the muck and figured out what she wanted. But he was still all over the place. Slipping away into a life that didn’t suit him. Or her. Perhaps it was time to let go of it. Their years of friendship and missed opportunities could only provide so much foundation. They weren’t the same people anymore, for better or for worse. Deep down she knew she would always love him and always be there if he needed her, but this secret dream of someday crossing each other’s paths at the right time…well that had to go. She couldn’t keep dragging that around.
Looking out across the quickly darkening city she let herself think of him in that way one last time. Picturing his beautiful eyes and the way they lit up when he was being witty. His dark hair falling smartly across his face, or even after his year of travel when he returned a deep tan with his hair cut close to his skull. Lord even his skull was perfectly shaped. But that was enough, no sense in thinking on it anymore. She must not let her mind’s eye drift below that beautiful face. It would only make matters worse. Closing her eyes she breathes in the smell of night just descending on the city and prepared herself to go. Sighing softly to herself, she thought she heard the door to the roof creaking open faintly behind her. Shaking her head she told herself she was only imagining a situation that could not be. Something that happens in movies and novels, not in real life friendships that are holding on by one last string…
Then quietly, a “Hello” from behind her, holding all the possibilities in the world in two syllables, and the whole world stopped.