personal blog: simon

ten minutes and I’m already panicking. maybe Bryan decided not to show. maybe it’s all a scam.

every moment of hesitation, of doubt, I feel like a fool.

I scan the menu hanging on the wall. quite pricy, but I wouldn’t expect nothing less from Bryan. it’s always the best for him.

“do you like lobster?”

I recognize Bryan’s voice and answer, “I’m not really hungry,” although my stomach is turning.

he looks better than great. a plain white top prominent against his darker complexion, not fancy at all, yet beautiful as hell. I forgot the effect his smile has. how quickly it makes you feel at ease.

I always hated dating, the pool of strangers always seems daunting, but this isn’t a date.

Bryan’s eyes swing to me and lengthen as he wraps his arms lovingly around me as if time was not a matter at all, and I restrain myself, on a battle ground with fear. the warmth escalates as we part and the electric shock passes through my arm, where Bryan’s grasp lingers a little longer. foolish to have such juvenile feelings based on fond memories, I withdraw and tumble a step back, forgetting to breathe for a moment, and suddenly nervous, regretting the act of answering Bryan’s message. my cheeks burning, although Bryan’s eyes seem to cherish it.

“hi.” he sweeps along my fingertips ever so lightly, jolting a spark.

I spread my fingers, reaching for Bryan’s, seemingly a little forbidden. “hi.”

“I’m sorry about last night… I didn’t expect to see you and to be honest I didn’t recognize you. your hair changed.”

“yeah, it’s blonder.”

“yeah,” he hums. “blond looks good, too.” he smiles somewhat coy. “this was a stupid suggestion.” his fingers fly from the menu to his side.

“was it to impress me?” I ask.

his pout trembles, “a little,” as if seeking forgiveness. “come on,” one pull at the zipper of my jacket and Bryan leads us around the corner. I trail behind him, wimping out.

“come on, Simon.” my father clapped. “come on. pass the ball,” and he whistled to the other boys in the league. I dribbled the ball few steps before it got away from me; I was six, but my father’s expectations were high, just because I was tallest in the group.

“what would you like?” Bryan asks, grabbing the door, waiting for me to go in first. the shop looks trendy and spacious enough to have seating area. “a scone and medium hazel nut, plain,” like a predetermined account of his meal Bryan makes his order at the counter, and turns to me.

“same.” I blur out, without making things complicated.

“be more creative than that.” he suggests. whether it’s an innocent jab or a flirt, I don’t care much for it.

“I’m fine.” my voice deters nothing more than a reassuring assertion.

with sly hand, he makes the payment as money most likely is no burden, and grabs the slip, “order seventy-one,” he mumbles and leads once again to the furthest table from the door, maybe ensuring that I don’t have an easy path to bolt.

“how are you?”

I recline, the jarring truth, I’m quite unsure, but splurge to answer, “I’m okay.” the most satisfactory and oblique answer I can give, avoiding talking about the drama that unfurled yesterday morning. it’s not simple to blur out that I have just broken up with my boyfriend, to immediately agree to meet with… I don’t even know what to call Bryan. one night stand? but we didn’t sleep together. one night of flirting? one night of kissing? one night of talking? nonetheless, the sequence of my present behaviour may appear somewhat desperate. “I’m fine.” I echo, reassuring myself more than Bryan. “how about you?”

he simply grins, creasing his forehead.

“that bad?”

“no.” he shakes his head, “just… weird seeing you. good weird.”

was that an answer or a sneaky way to deflect?

his jumpy fingers tap the table and reach the tip of my fingers again. shaking his head as if deciding not to divulge something and Bryan withdraws his hand. the waiter appears with our order.

“thank you.” Bryan’s first to oblige and I consume his nervousness. he shifts in his seat, “what have you been up to?”

more questions, but I oblige. “running a print shop… a small local operation, enough to live off… but Jacob must have told you.”

“I didn’t ask… when you left, I didn’t…” he trails off for a moment, “it was best if I didn’t know.”

“I’m sorry.” the sight of his tangible hurt makes my guilt resurface.

“there’s nothing to apologize for. I met you that one time.”

but we both know it wasn’t just a meeting.

“have you thought of me?” I ask.

his exhale turns to an uncomfortable and wry wince, as if my question has a conspiring intent, but he swallows his pride and bluntly but warmly answers, “of course.”

I like the fact that he is honest and I cannot but admit as ingenuously, “me, too.”

and with that Bryan relaxes his guarded squared shoulders, softening his scowl. “I hoped you were well… and seems that you have done well.”

“it’s modest,” like Bryan making every amends to be perceived modest rather than proud, well only the men he liked the most, and there were very few. a secret Bryan disclosed decade ago. “you still worry what others think of you?”

“I was a little pretentious with the restaurant, but I hope I made restitution.” a slight tease to mask his tiniest flaw, his own doubt, and returns to the subject of me, “I’m glad you answered.”

“to check me off your check-list?” my mouth curls to a smile, an attempt to make Bryan smile in return.

“no,” and he yields the tiniest chuckle. “no such thing… but you answered.”

“I guess to make my own amends.” in a way Bryan was a treasure from the past worth holding onto, and he was on my mind lately more than a little. maybe I do feel guilty, curious whether I imprinted a toxic impact or a pleasant memory. but Bryan seems amiable, unconsumed by revenge or spite.

“I told you…”

“I know,” nodding to the fact that I have nothing to apologize for and strip the paper-cup at its rim. it’s been a while since I sat still in a monotonous conversation, but it’s nice not to fight and argue… and pretend… but be forgiven and admired.

“Simon.” The call of my name, just as Bryan whispered the day I met him. “we cannot undo ten years, we can only determine the next minute. if that.” well, that is unpremeditated expulsion of sentiments, weakening my heart that I almost choke on my drink… and I know it’s unpremeditated, without cause or gain, because as soon as Bryan said it, he bashfully receded in his seat.

wise words from a wise man, a man I held in high regard for all this time. glad he hasn’t changed. my regret to meet with Bryan faintly fading. “true.” I mutter and sweep my hair from my eyes.

“damn… you’re still…” and he blushes at saying that as well.

I chuckle. “are you flirting?”

“I wish… you have this poise and those ‘save-me’ eyes yet so striking and serious at the same time. you can say and do anything, and I would allow you… you must be a heartbreaker,” and that doesn’t even sound cheap leaving Bryan’s mouth.

if Bryan only knew the truth. looks can be deceptive.

“that sounded like a line.” he smirks at his own foolishness. “you were so chatty last time, but then you would go silent and that stare, as if you were capable of reading one’s soul.” Bryan adds.

in silence we speak volumes. I can’t recall who might have quoted that, but I always find that silence is a double-edged sword: opens conversations and ends them. with Kevin it ended them, with Bryan it seems to entice his curiosity and he isn’t afraid of the stillness of the room, of the moment. “that’s a credit way over allocated. I’m too dim to be capable to spew insightful wisdom.” I jest at my own expense.

“you can fool me then.” the rhythm of his tone gentle and whimsical, then as if smiling to himself. “I haven’t done this in a long time.”


“be ridiculous and flirt.”


“I don’t think it looks good on me.” his tone now glum.

“I don’t think it looks good on me either,” and my admittance isn’t to even make Bryan feel better, rather it is my honest account of self.

“you’re authentic,” and he says that with honour.

as much as Bryan may seem to be compensating with compliments, everything he says rings true and honest. a quality I found to this day only Jacob possessed… but Bryan has his own method to translate his words with passion and frankness, rather than façade.

he gathers his hands around his cup and leans out the booth, “you might a walk?”

“no,” I oblige without fuss and follow Bryan out.

read more: ← sunday 09:46sunday 12:44 →

© simon whittle — second act