As simple as that: a punch in the gut.
Earlier that day, I’d run across such an odd feeling, but to make things worse, I picked up that freakin’ call.
Turns out in the morning, say 8am, some guy on the street called my name out loud. Just like any passer-by worried about his own stuff, I completely ignored his calling, though it was clear that was my name. Once more, the seemingly stranger shouted at the tiny crowd I was immersed in, so I turned around several times and spotted an erratic individual whose stubble I couldn’t quite figure out where or when I’d probably encountered before. In the end, I gave up and slowly approached him as I pretended I didn’t recognized him, because thing is, I had, but didn’t really wanna accept that fact, didn’t really wanna go back to the past on that particular morning. Then it all boiled down to his face, to his green eyes, tanned complexion, and baffled countenance.
A couple of seconds afterwards, we’d officially recognized each other.
It was a tiny trip to the past, a tiny shake of hands and a tiny word out of me that surprised me. It was a bud, an old times bud coming to life right before me. More than six years had gone by and I could tell that in his stubble. Somehow, I secretly rejected the encounter. I felt like running far away so bad because I expected the past to be just that, the past, as though it was someone else’s. But no, there we were, on a damned machine hurrying us everywhere back in time. Worse still, the guy was pretty nice, and I even sensed some fatherly warmth I can’t still bring myself to accept.
Then his freakin’ hug. At least 5 Mississippi’s and some pats on our backs.
We finally waved goodbye, I walked down the street, ran down the street, caught back my breath, finally got back home.

Then the afternoon came. All of a sudden the phone rang, I picked it up, and there it was: a farewell catching me off guard. We never really had a chance to get into an actual conversation in spite of the talks we’d had at my place. Most of the time, he and his partner would sound eager to help me out. After all, mine was land of the heathen and they were the angels God had sent me so I could repent and partake of the sacred fruit. At least, that was the way it seemed to be from the outside, right? But come to think of it, was I playing along with them, just as I used to back when they started coming over so long ago? Or was I just squandering my life on some impossible hope of men sharing their convictions with me? Hindsight now tells me I was being weak, terribly weak and confused, and hopeful and madly in love–once again, a freakin’ unrequited goddamned thing. The last time we met was on that particular occasion, on that particular Saturday. He couldn’t make it on time, as always. So there I was, with a bunch of people I’d never ever seen in my entire life, contemplating their comings and goings as I sat in a dark corner. The whole thing finally began and miraculously here he came, patted me on my back while smiling and sitting next to me. I can’t really recall his exact words, but it wasn’t much. The whole thing went on but I wasn’t quite there: I was traveling back in time, a time that never was, when this guy on my left was someone really close to me. I felt him as a dad, as a bro, as a bud, as myself.
He surely won’t fall into oblivion to me, for all he left is a book of his on my night table and a couple of forlorn memories.
First an encounter, then a farewell. As simple as that: a punch in the gut.



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