It was premiere night. I was standing at the back of the room, secretly wondering how much longer I had to politely smile at every person there who met my eye.
My husband was talking to a man in black leather jacket and with black-framed glasses – the director, apparently. “Meet my wife,” he said to him. That was my cue. I reached out for his hand, said a line that has been stripped off of so much meaning, uttered these days with hardly ever any ounce of sincerity: “It’s nice to meet you.”
I don’t remember who said what after that, but I was conveniently relieved of the obligatory small talk after the introduction. My eyes drifted, and saw a familiar face.
I wasn’t expecting her tonight.
I watched her from where I was – I think this is just the second time I’ve seen her in person – and secretly envied her. I envied how she seemed so at ease in the crowd. I envied how comfortably she moved about. I envied how she knew several people in such a place, and even if she didn’t, how easy it was for her to meet new ones. I envied how she didn’t seem so afraid to make a fool of herself, unlike I.
Throughout the night, even when the movie was over and I was already at home, lying on my back (and lying to myself that I was about to fall asleep), I thought about her.
It’s funny how we know so much about each other when we have never been, or never ever want to be, formally introduced.
Maybe the hardest part about seeing her again wasn’t the awkward hello, or her discernible attempts to avoid eye contact. I think the hardest part was being reminded by her existence that at one point, I was not enough. The hardest part was realizing that the wound in my heart still bled a little, when I thought the sutures had done their part well. The hardest part was being once again aware of the possibility of it all happening again, of having to go through the difficulty of living through such a pain as that.
With high hopes, surely not.
Oh, but we’ve got a long way to go.