He leaned against my car, informing me that he was not going anywhere. “You were one of my dearest friends, despite everything.”
“That’s so cliché,” I laughed, but it sounded hollow and fake. “Drama doesn’t suit you.”
Terrence smiled. “Yeah, you’ve always been the dramatic one.”
I turned to him. The lamppost behind him flickered to life, as if on cue, and I came face to face with the very image from fifteen years ago that marked the first time I discovered romance. I was back in my freshman year of high school again and was once again melting at the sight of that boyish grin. The only thing missing was the cheesy music that we had been dancing to during the freshman acquaintance party where I first fell in love. Yes, as always, as if some heavenly director had called out an instruction, someone opened the door to the gymnasium and left it that way allowing David Pomeranz to filter out to the parking lot.
“We danced to that song,” I murmured when I recognized the sentimental lyric. “That was my first real slow dance.”
He chuckled. “You really can’t help but be dramatic, can you?” I must have made some negative reaction that I wasn’t aware of, because he amended by holding out his hand. “Care to dance?”
“That’s just stupid,” I grumble stubbornly.
He draws his hand back. “That’s true.” He stares at me quizzically. “Why do you remember that dance?”
“You don’t easily forget your firsts,” I explained.
“If I remember correctly, I cut in from Ronald. Ronald was your first dance,” Terrence corrected me.
I absently replied, “I wasn’t talking about dancing.” Now, Terrence isn’t stupid like me, so he quickly got the hint and didn’t ask what I was talking about. There was a short silence, and then I found the right time to ask the right question. “Am I really such a difficult person to fall in love with?”
“You’re smart and you’ve so many talents,” he appeared to be lost in thought. “You were cute back then and you’re fun to hang around with.”
“You didn’t answer my question,” I dragged him back to reality.
He met my inquisitive gaze. “No. You’re not a difficult person to fall in love with.”
The dam of pent up frustration from unasked questions and unrequited emotions, insecurities, and uncertainties broke and I began to speak without second thought. “So why didn’t you?” Tears were welling up in my eyes and the lump in my throat was beginning to make me sound like a frog, but my voice kept on going. “Why couldn’t you fall for me the way you fell for so many other girls in the span of fifteen years? I’m not good enough for you?”
Terrence took a deep breath, like the one you take before diving into a cold swimming pool on a cold day. “I never said I didn’t fall for you, Alice.”
The lump grew in size, and my words were choked out, “Did you?”