It’s a cold winter night. I curse my luck for having forgotten my scarf as I hurry back to the hotel room in an effort to avoid an unexpected sharp shower. It’s almost March but this year, it looks like winter has decided to stay longer. Too bad, because I was actually looking forward to this trip and hoping for more temperate weather.
I get to the hotel and realise I’m frozen solid by the cold winds. I can hardly feel my fingers. On an impulse, I fish out my phone from the folds of my anorak and text you. You’ll probably not even read my text until the next day given time zone differences, but I’m ok with that. I put the phone back into the pocket as I fumble with the key card for the elevator. I barely manage to find it when I feel the phone buzzing in my pocket. I ignore it and continue up to my room on the 5th floor. I let myself into the room, crank up the heating and change into warm and comfortable pyjamas. By now, I’ve completely forgotten about the message waiting in my inbox.
Fifteen minutes later, I settle down on the couch with my laptop and hear an incoming message tone again. I pick up the phone hoping it isn’t someone from back home. I look at my inbox and am pleasantly surprised to see you’ve responded to my text. I smile to myself as I reply to your text. It’s been so long since we spoke. So long since I heard that teasing lilt in your voice that I so adore.
“What are you doing awake at 2.30 AM? Go get your beauty sleep di!” I’m surprised you haven’t seen my texts and emails about travelling to Europe. I tell you I’m in London and that it’s barely 10.
“Wait! You’re in London?”
You sound not surprised so much as stunned. I say yes. So? I’ve been in London one week now and staying another week. Why?
“Where in London are you? And why the hell didn’t you tell me you were going to be there?”
By now, I’m confused. I remind you of all the emails I’d sent and that you’d failed to see. You tell me you never got those emails and ask where I am right now. I give you the name of my hotel and the room number.
“Ok. Stay there ok? Don’t go anywhere.”
Are you planning to call on the landline, I ask. Whatsapp works quite well, I say. You don’t reply to my text. I call, only for you to cut my call. I wonder what I’ve done to upset you so much as the restlessness builds in me. I text you again in an effort to elicit some sort of reaction from you. No response yet.
Five minutes later, I hear the door bell. I pull myself out of the bed and force myself to the door. I’m sure it’s someone who’s got the wrong room number. My mind is still with you, as I wait desperately for you to return my call. Before I can get to the door, the door bell rings again. What’s with these people? I open the door and freeze.
There you are, at my doorstep, looking like you haven’t aged a day in the three years since we last met. My face lights up like a Christmas tree. I feel like a child who’s been told Santa Claus will bring her gifts. Yet, I’m unable to move.
As if you were expecting this reaction, you step into the room, shut the door behind you and hug me. It takes me a second to get used to the unexpectedness of it all and hug you back. Three years. Three years since we last met and it feels like you never went away. You take a step back and look at me. I stare at you wondering what I did to deserve what I got today. The flecks of gold in your chocolate brown eyes. That incredibly sexy smile. The grays that seem to have made their way into your hair. The pure joy in your eyes for having seen me again. Everything tugs at my heartstrings. And then, very deliberately, you take a step towards me, pull me into your arms and kiss me deeply.
The three years, the distance, the lack of communication: everything suddenly seems irrelevant.