He knows how you smother the loneliness,
He knows how you throw away all you have,
He knows how you flee from this planet,
But he doesn’t know how to stay.
(“Måste vara två” by Lars Winnerbäck)
She opened the door with a cup of tea in her hand, and froze into place upon seeing who was at her doorstep so early in the morning.
The breath caught in her throat. He was the last person she had been expecting. As much as she was prepared to face him now, it did hurt to see his face and remember what he had said the previous day.
“We need to talk”, he echoed her words from yesterday.
“Mm hmm”, she acknowledged.
He bit his lip and stared, clearly hesitant. This wasn’t going to be easy.
“Coffee?” she offered helpfully, setting her cup down on the table.
An awkward silence prevailed as they both avoided each other’s gaze and thought of what to do or say.
“Nikki…” she looked up upon hearing her name.
“About what I said yesterday…” he took a deep breath. “I’m s-”
She kept looking in anticipation.
“I mean, I wanted to say…I…I shouldn’t have said what I did”, he bowed his head.
He couldn’t bring the word “sorry” to his lips for some reason, but he had thought of a way to apologise…at least to let her know that he regretted saying what he had. It had been hard to defeat his ego, but he had thought about this for the whole of last night before ending up at her doorstep. He had planned every detail in his head, but now that the moment was here, everything got jumbled up.
“It was wrong on my part, no matter how angry I was, it…I just shouldn’t have said it”, he talked to his shoes.
“You mean you’ve come here to apologise?”
He looked up for a second. “I…”
“…yes”, he hung his head again.
“Then why can’t you look into my eyes when you say it?”
“Because I can’t”, he sounded thoroughly disturbed.
The silence that ensued from her end after his reply made his heart drum madly inside him. He was nervous. This wasn’t the kind of thing he was used to doing.
“You hate me, don’t you?” he looked up to see her staring sideways, a faraway look on her face.
Her eyes glided back to his, and she took a step forward.
“No. Not exactly.”
Her brisk tone was discouraging, to say the least.
“I think I like you way too much to be able to hate you”, his sinking heart shot up to his throat as she moved closer.
“Then why did you walk away from me that evening after Armaan called?” he dared to brush aside her hair, and breathed a sigh of relief when she remained where she was and leant into his touch.
She didn’t answer. But her eyes began to prick at the mention of that moment, something she couldn’t explain to him. He wouldn’t understand.
His racing heart slowed down to regain its normal speed, but it beat so heavily he feared she could hear it.
He moved closer and took her hands in his.
“I need to tell you something.”
“What?” her breath caught in her throat…this was the moment.
“I hate Armaan”, he spoke quietly.
Her misty eyes turned expressionless. Something sank inside her. “I know.”
“Do you know why?”
She shook her head quietly, and bowed her head.
His hot breath blew on her hair and she looked up. His eyes gazed at her in longing, and he cupped her cheeks softly as his forehead touched hers.
“…Because you once told me that you loved him.”
His eyes were magnetic, and she was unable to look away.
“I was jealous.”
And she nearly stopped breathing.
He kept looking at her, not even blinking. She felt his warm breath fan her face and her eyes closed of their own accord. She was expecting more.
It didn’t come.
His palms moved away from her cheeks, and she opened her eyes to see him give her one last wistful glance before walking away.