“Guess who I met today?”
“Who?” Boua Pheng asked. There was a moment of silence as he took time to think.
A small smile formed on Nhia’s lips but quickly disappeared like their brief meeting. After they cut off their ties, he hadn’t seen her in many years. It was what they wanted. Well, more like what she wanted. Although they went their separate ways, he searched for her even when their time had passed. He carried all their precious memories and reminisced about them from time to time. Even though she was just a person and one moment in his life, she was unforgettable.
“Do you think we can mend our ties? Do you think we can… have a chance to be together again?” Nhia asked.
“I’m sure you know the answer.” Boua Pheng answered.
He sighed. They couldn’t be together again. She willingly severed their ties. The thought of him would never cross her mind. But he still looked for her, hoping they had a slim chance.
“It’s time to move on. You’ve held on to her for too long. She doesn’t remember you anyway.” Boua Pheng spoke.
Nhia found it difficult to let go. He wished everything was easy to forget like it was for her.
“We’re only fated to be strangers now, yet I still hope for us to be more than that.”
—A few hours before
“I’m so sorry, sir!” Cha Dou said as she took out a napkin and cleaned the water that had splashed onto Nhia’s coat.
“Oh, it’s fine! It’s just a little bit of water. I’ll be fine.”
Despite what he said, she continued to wipe it away.
“You’re all good now!” Cha Dou exclaimed.
“Thank you, you didn’t have to.”
She looked up at him, and for a moment, their eyes locked. Nhia immediately recognized her. He was amazed by how quick it was for him to know that it was her. She no longer had the same face, but for some reason, he knew. It was like there was a connection. In all the years that he had lived, he never recognized someone right away. Especially someone with a different face. His kind never really changed their physical appearances. The only ones who were everchanging were humans.
Finally. After all this time, he finally found her. He was happy but also sad, knowing she won’t remember or recognize him. But with a glimmer of hope in him, he asked, “Have we met before? You seem so familiar.”
Cha Dou thought for a moment, then answered, “No. This is our first meeting.”
“Are you sure? Don’t you find me familiar? I’m sure we’ve met before.”
She thought for another moment and said, “I’ve never met you before. Maybe you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
“Oh, I-I guess so. Sorry.” He apologized and turned his gaze away from her. His sadness grew, but he still hoped that this meeting would make her remember. Even though he knew it was impossible.
“I’ll be going now. Have a good day.” She smiled, then walked away.
He watched as she disappeared into the crowd.
“Will I meet her again or will this be the last time I’ll see her?”
Not Meant to Be
“You told me once that not everyone is meant to stay. People will always come and go.”
Nhia looked at her as they stood in the rain.
“I guess I’m… one of them.” She spoke in a quivering voice.
The rain began to pour harder, fully drenching them. He felt his heart breaking as he continued to look at her in silence.
A stroke of lightning and thunder came as Nhia gathered everything related to her. He gazed sadly at them, not wanting to part with the memories. “Should I just accept everything for what it is?” He quietly spoke as he placed all the items into a box.
Then, he walked towards the burning fire pit in the room with the box in his hands. He stopped at the fire pit and stared at it, like all the times before. He couldn’t bring himself to burn the items and memories they had. These were the only things left of her, even though she was out there, somewhere.
“No, I can’t do this,” Nhia said and walked away from the fire. He placed the box onto a shelf and left the room.
A couple of years had passed since he last met her. The box in the room was left untouched and was now covered in dust. He felt like he was now able to move on and forget the past they once had. Sometimes, she crossed his mind, but the thoughts didn’t affect him like they used to.
“Not everyone is meant to stay in your life, no matter how important they are to you.”
“Sir! Excuse me!”
A woman stopped him as he was walking on the sidewalk. “Hey, um…”
“Yes?” Nhia spoke.
“Have we met before? You seem so familiar.”
Nhia recognized her once more. It was Cha Dou.
“No. This is our first meeting.” He spoke. “You must’ve mistaken me for someone else.” After all, she wouldn’t remember him from a few years ago anyways.
“Are-are you sure? I—nevermind… I’m sorry.”
She watched as he walked away, disappearing into the crowd.
Sua Hang is an artist and a writer. Writing has always been one of her passions. She also loves to read, watch dramas, and hone her art skills. You can find her on Twitter @shuaprose.