Charlie ruthlessly grabs his coat, which has been loosely hung in his chair since yesterday morning, and rushes to the cafe. His feet felt frozen the moment he stepped out of his house, but he couldn’t care less. He loves the feeling of the New York winter even, often marveling at the way the cold sneak inside him, reminding him that he is, indeed, alive. Head held high, nose reddened by the cold, he looks almost like he’s running. He has to get to the cafe before Erin does.
Since when have he developed the habit of being the first person to arrive, he cannot remember. What he knows is that on every date with Erin, he always sit there, at the corner of their favorite coffee shop, looking out of the window and waiting for her.
Perhaps he likes seeing her walking into the cafe, light and elegant, her eyes always looking directly towards his corner, her lips turning into a smile the moment she sees him there.
It rains seconds after he gets on his seat. Suddenly, he is reminded of the time they first went for a walk together, two years ago. She told him that she would never get sick of him, ever.
What she said didn’t assure him. He didn’t like it when she stated it like a fact. One day she’ll stare at his face and says “Please, leave me alone”. That is a possibility with a much too high chance of happening, considering the current stage of their relationship.
She lives in LA most of the time now, and he’s still stuck with unfinished business in NY. Cafe dates like this are monthly, and never last for more than two hours. Their “loose contract” doesn’t help either. He agreed with her proposal that he would stay with his wife, and she would date someone else, and they would still love each other as long as they still meet each other. But now, he regretted it.
She could be in a relationship with some guy right now. What’s worse is that he has no right to be jealous, or angry, or disappointed because technically, they’re just friends. But of course, parts of him can resist the somewhat cruel hope that she’s single and just spending days and nights thinking about them together.
The two of them has been so close, yet they never really defined their relationship. They do everything good friends do with each other, and things beyond the common definition of friendship.
They say “I love you” to each other, but he never knows what she really means with the word “love”.
But he knows exactly what he means.
The first time they met, Charlie offered a shy Erin, a bit arrogantly, “I’ve been here for a while, I can show you around”.