Is it love when you bump into the ex-object of your affection/betrayal/complicated friendship after years of no-contact-for-reasons-everyone-knows, and you realize just how much you still miss them? Or is it merely a weird hook thing where you only want what you can’t have.
I bumped into Mark today. We were at an incredibly dull event, both of us doing our civic duty, armed with our respective weapons against mass boredom. Things have been awkward between us for years, thanks to all the shit that happened, and I was expecting just another perfunctory ‘Hey, what’s up… ok, take care” kind of 30-second conversation which has become our default interaction whenever common friends, loud music nights and other circumstances have thrown us together. After that, we would have the freedom to avoid each other by diving headlong into our books, no harm no foul.
Imagine my surprise then, when he actually asked me to have coffee with him. Coffee implied going somewhere else, just the two of us, and being forced to chat with each other across the table, atleast for the amount of time it takes to finish a mocha. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but this is a HUGE deal. In that half hour, we kinda-sorta caught up with each others’ latest projects (work), discussed the state of Indian television and film, and ofcourse, the weather. As we carefully tap-danced around each others minefields, I caught myself thinking, "This isn't how it used to be...but atleast it’s something."
Would he have sought me out had we not been forced to stay in a boring place, doing boring things? If his girlfriend had any intention of showing up? Had any of his other friends been there to get coffee with him? Doubt it. That’s what makes me pathetic, because when it comes to him, I suppose I’ll take what I can get. But my heart soared as we laughed together, and just for a moment, I got a glimpse of who we could have been.
Then, at the end of the three hours (three hours?? Yes, he also chose to stand with me in an interminably long line, and we smiled and shared amused glances with each other throughout. Yes, it counts), as we awkwardly hugged goodbye, all I wondered was – was this the start of a new chapter in a friendship or just the end of a brief truce?
All I know that I miss my friend, and I hope he can find his way back to me someday. Love, and all that it means, is just background noise.