It had been five years since she’d felt it. That feeling, fluttering in the depths of her mind, waiting to come back to life. It made her feel reckless like she could do absolutely anything, possibly even conquer the world. She hadn’t felt like this in 5 whole years and watching him play last month, was like a dip of the toe, in this vast expanse of a feeling.
Mia closed her eyes, picturing Sebastian at his piano again, his fingers gliding against the keys softly, his eyes focused, like a lion on a hunt.
God, she’d missed him, and she wondered what she missed more, him or the person she was with him? She wished to turn back time, to those nights, when they sat at the piano, and sang earnestly, as his hands magically created melodies so beautiful.
But times had changed, she admitted as she watched her daughter slowly drift away to sleep. She was two already and yet Mia could swear that it felt like yesterday when she held her first. It was a picture-perfect moment, one that stirs your memory even in your next life, as you sit there doing something mundane. A moment she remembered as clear as the day: This beautiful baby wailing in Mia’s arms as David caressed her head gently.
David. The man she had loved and married, father to her child. He’d been everything Sebastian hadn’t. A man who chose logistics over passion, a life of routine over spontaneity. She had loved him, loved him enough to start a new chapter of her life with him. But she knew, the person he’d loved; wasn’t her.
He didn’t know the real Mia, the struggling actress who was frustrated with life. He only knew Mia, the successful actress that had everything going right in her life. It was the façade that she’d built for herself, that David loved and all she wanted now was to break free.
She had spent the whole month practising how to tell David the truth about how she felt. How she felt about Sebastian, how she missed the thrill and spontaneity. And as she told her husband, as those words tumbled out of her, she felt a gush of relief and peace.
David, being as patient and kind as always, understood and accepted it silently. They held each other and cried, but let go tenderly after a while. By the end of this week, the divorce would be finalized, they had requested joint custody of their daughter and Mia would soon move out to her apartment.
She had been on the verge of doing this every day since she had last seen Sebastian. With trembling hands and butterflies in her stomach, she had called Sebastian to meet with her in the evening. Grabbing her car keys, wiping her tears away with the back of her hand, she set out in her car, driving with only the destination in her mind. The streets were quiet and the breeze blowing against her face made her face involuntary turn up into a smile. Would she wake up the next morning, with a plaguing sense of regret? Only time could tell.
Abruptly stopping the car, she realized she had reached. The bench. Their bench. The sunset looked splendid from here, like a pot of honey melting into the skies. She had built these shackles for herself, to be an ideal woman: beautiful, successful, and in love with her family and all she wanted now was someone who would love her, knowing she possibly didn’t possess any of those qualities.
A loud honk, broke her chain of thoughts and her heart stopped. And then through her peripheral vision, she saw his shoes and once again mused, that fate always meant for them to find each other.
“Look at this view,” Sebastian said, as he sat next to Mia on the bench.
I’ve seen better.” Mia heard herself replying, her eyes on him. He looked older, more mature. He had grown into the best version of himself, she realized. His eyes crinkled at the sides as he tried to hide his smile.
He looked at her and said, “Agreed.”
They both turned to the skies, their fingertips almost touching as they sat there in comfortable silence.
“So you didn’t name it Chicken on a Stick. Thank god.” She broke the silence.
Sebastian chuckled in response.
“Had to keep you alive over here in some way.” He replied, his eyes on her. She furrowed her eyebrows, avoiding his gaze as tears pricked the edge of her eyes.
“Did you like the music, last night?” he looked at her hopefully, just like he always had.
“When have I not?” she said, once again curtly, afraid she would start sobbing if she said more.
“I’ve missed you.” He whispered, almost inaudibly, after a whole minute.
Their eyes met and she let out the breath she was holding. How many years had she hoped that one day he’d show up, daisies in his hand, saying the same thing to her? Scooting closer to him, she gently put her head on his shoulder and murmured
“I left my husband.” She said after a pause, not knowing what else to say.
They sat there quietly for they both knew, no words could come close to describing what they felt at that moment. For now, it was just them on a bench. The bench that had seen it all.
Another picture-perfect moment for the books, she thought to herself. Sebastian and her, together over here, after 5 whole of years of being apart. She didn’t know what the next day would bring, but she did know this, in that moment she felt more like herself than she had in the last 5 years. At that moment she finally felt as though she had gotten her happily ever after, like the women in her favourite movies. And as she held onto his arm a little tighter, she wished she would remember this exact moment in her next life, while doing something mundane.
Sebastian broke the silence, ” So, what song should I play at our wedding?”
Written by Medha Somayaji for MTTN
Edited by Anushka Das for MTTN
Featured Image by Tu Na
Artwork by Iheuo