Rapunzel here ;)
“Promise me you would smile like that again.” Years had passed, yet she can hear him saying that clearly. She was staring at her iPad, the screen showing a picture of her smiling so widely. It was taken back on the last day of SPM. The day when all the worries, fears and stresses were all gone. Looking at the picture, she realised that it has been awhile since she last smile like that. Since she last felt such happiness and relieved.
“Maybe when I graduated university with honours. Or maybe when I get married to a prince. But I promise you, I will smile like that again, some day.”
She looked out the window, sipping her favourite caramel latte. She got lost in her train of thoughts, reminiscing the memory of him. It has been a month since she last talked to him. It was not his fault, it was hers. She avoided him and not a day went by that she does not miss him. Only, she was not ready to face him.
He was just another guy she knew off Wechat - an app for the loners and desperate. Most of the people she knew from that app bore her to death but he was the only exception. Within seconds of knowing each other, they ‘clicked’ instantly. He was fun to talk to, understanding and most importantly at the same level of thinking as her - that was why she had so much trouble being friends with people, she just has a rather different way of thinking. She needed a shoulder to cry on and he was always there, so they became great friends.
“We can be friends, but promise me you will not fall for me,” he said one day. The reason was that he already had a girlfriend. She knew the fact that controlling the heart is almost impossible. Promising something like is ridiculous. But she was heartless then, too broken to even feel anything, so she said, “I promised”.
For years, they stayed great friends. She knew over the years he had fall for her and he struggled with his feelings. But both would not admit that, they tried pushing the thoughts away. He was still in a relationship with his girlfriend and did not want to hurt her, but his heart was no longer with her. And she was just too broken to acknowledge his feelings for her. She was afraid she might not be able to return it.
They were doing fine pretending they don’t have feelings for each other. Until a few days ago…..
“Rish, are you free tomorrow?” he asked while they were talking on the phone.
“No, of course I’m not free. I never will be. I’m priceless,” she replied. “Why?”
“Let’s go have a coffee date? My treat. Or do you want to do something else?”
“Awwhhh…. My Hazzy misses me. Coffee date sounds great!” she replied with her squeaky chipmunk voice that made her undeniably adorable. She always use that voice to ask him for something and that would just melts his heart. “But where?” she asked.
“Of course I miss you, who wouldn’t? Anywhere would do. Just as long as we can sit and talk.” He heard her laugh and that just made him fall for her even more.
He picked her up from her university the next day. After half an hour of arguing on where to go, they finally settled for they favourite cafe, The Sewels Coffee and Cakes. That was where they met for the first time. He was still with his girlfriend but he still occasionally has a date with Risha. And Risha doesn’t mind as she only sees them as best friends and having a coffee date every now and then won’t bring any harm.
“I have something to tell you,” he broke the silence that fell between them while Risha drank up her coffee.
“Okay, go, shoot.” She continued nibbling on her straw and cookies while waiting for Hazrin to open his mouth.
“I’m not sure if it was not obvious enough. Or that you just didn’t notice it. Or if you pretended not to know..” He paused. Unsure whether to go on with his words or not.
“About what? Know what?” She asked, gesturing for him to continue on.
“My feelings for you….” He saw her smile understandingly at that, but she kept her mouth shut. So he went on. “You know I love you… And it’s no longer as a friend. I don’t see you like that anymore. I don’t want to keep you as that anymore. I want us to be more than just a friend. I’m not good with words like you are, all I know is that I’m truly, madly in love with you and I just want to be with you for the rest of my life.”
She was still smiling but she was staring blankly at her coffee. “And what about your girlfriend?” she asked, softly.
“I don’t want to hurt her. But my heart is just not with her anymore and keeping her around is just mean. Staying with her is pointless. I… I… I just don’t know what to do.”
“Haz… Can you send me home?” she asked and got on to her feet slowly. She was lost in her thoughts and kept quite for the entire ride home. Hazrin was driving anxiously. He kept asking her if she was okay and all she did was nod slowly. Somehow, she just shut down and everything just went by with a blur.
Her phone rang, bringing her back to reality.
A month has passed since that day. She has been searching for the right words to say to Hazrin. But nothing would come. The problem was not him. She did not blame him for feeling such way. She knew for a fact that feelings are just hard to control. You can never control who you fall in love with. She did feel sorry for his girlfriend but that was a problem he had to take care of.
He was a great guy. Caring, sweet, hopelessly romantic and everything a girl could ever asked for in a guy. He was great to talk to, always there offering a shoulder for Risha to cry on. He was also one of the rare guys that can keep up with her dramas. He never minds to spend a fortune for her, willing even. He would always get her what she wants. In fact, he was the guy she has been wishing, looking and hoping for. She has always wanted a guy just like him.
He was just wonderful. Every second with him, the hole in her heart seems to shrink a little and the emptiness she felt seems to fade away. He was indeed her knight in shining armour. But somehow, she still can’t open up her heart for him, or anyone for that matter. She thought she would feel a spark when he confessed to her, but no, nothing. She was also too scared of repeating her past. She didn’t want to be labelled as a boyfriend stealer, again.
She just can’t afford to go through the same pain all over again. She didn’t think she can ever handle another heartbreak if this relationship doesn't work out. She was too afraid of the future that she didn’t even dare to imagine them being more than friends. She didn’t have the strength to face the pain and stresses of being the third person.
In a few hours, she’ll be flying off to the UK and long-distance relationship is hard. She can’t make him wait for her. It’s not that she didn’t love him, she just can’t afford losing her best friend over a fail relationship. That was what has been playing in her mind for the whole month avoiding him. Knowing that she didn’t has much time, she grabbed a pen and paper and started writing all of her heart content.
She folded the paper with a smile and on the top, she wrote, 'Untuk Hazrin'. Finally, she was able to let it all out. She reached for her phone and saw it was a text from Hazrin.
“I’ll see you at the airport?”
“Hi,” said Hazrin once he saw Risha. She gave him a thin smile, obvious that she was sad to leave her family behind. To leave her best friend, Yuna, behind. To leave him. “I’ve been missing you,” continued Hazrin.
“Here, it’s my answer to what you said a month ago. I hope it’s enough. I’m so sorry I avoided you. I just didn’t know what to say.” Hazrin saw that she was starting to cry and he hugged her. That made her tears came strolling her cheeks like a waterfall. “I wish we had spent more time together before I left.”
“Shh… Don’t cry. It’s okay. You don’t owe me any apology. Have a safe flight, have fun there and do take a good care of yourself, my dearest. I’ll always be here if you ever need me.”
“Read it only when I’m no longer in your sight okay?” With that, she went to hug her family and Yuna goodbye before walking to the departure gate, she never looked back.
“Till we meet again, Haz.”