We met again in a foreign land,
Foreign like his name upon my lips,
The sight of his hair, his eyes, his face
Both familiar and other.
The six years that stretched were etched
Upon the way he carried himself,
Posture confident, awkward smile in place.
You never think you’ll run into your first love,
Not when you’ve lived in so many cities,
Not when you met on a different continent.
Our genesis was a fairytale, our ending a drama,
Our closure a reality devoid of Hollywood scriptures.
The squint of his eyes as the sunlight beamed,
My hair tousled by the wind, red tints reflecting
The bitter pull of iced coffee as we sipped,
“Catching up” is an awkward game
One we stopped playing years ago when
We learnt to silence the pull of electronic devices.
I wanted to feel his magnificence again,
Instead, all I saw was a struggling 20-something.
Life has a funny way of doing that: growing on you.
We sat in comfortable stutters, each trying
Saying but not really saying, hearing the truth
Between the lines of unanswered questions.
“I’m sorry”, “I know”. “I forgive you”, “I’m glad”.
The foreign languages that spewed off our tongue
Was effortless, a byproduct of having lived
In another city, solid proof of time,
More solid than the conversations about work,
Far more solid than the not-quite familiar face
No longer carrying the babyish roundness of a teenage boy.
I couldn’t see the one who made snow angels with me
Or walked across a frozen Reflection Pool, the one with whom
I’d watched the Nanny with till the witching hour passed.
His forced pleasantry fell away the moment
He laid eyes upon my foreign hair: chopped short,
The way it’d never been before.
His eyes kept drifting to the barely there curl,
Imagining the long tresses he used to caress.
We spoke of families and lives, of strangers,
No effort made to even recall.
I was glad for the closure, the inevitable balsa death.
The foreign laughter that held no forcedness.
The hug goodbye was efficient, nothing sentimental,
We were two adults walking away.
I knew he no longer saw a past he didn’t want to remember,
And I? I was glad for the 6 years separating us.