She turned around, not in the mood to be hit on and simply said ‘Sorry, not interested’ and began to move away again.
But before she could turn back around, he stopped her, his hand on her arm. Anna couldn’t help but tense up. She really wasn’t in the mood for this today. But before she could do anything, his words stopped her.
“Anna, don’t you remember me?”…
Caught off guard, Anna could barely bring herself together to muster up a response. She could only shake her head no. It was then that she finally realized that the guy did, in fact, look familiar to her. Though, she still couldn’t fathom who he was. But she didn’t have to wonder long. He answered the question in her mind himself.
“It’s me, Jacob. We went to school together. I think we were in Grade 5 or 6 together. If I’m right, and you are in fact the girl in my mind. I am sorry if I’ve got it wrong.” Barely letting her answer, he went on, “…the boarding school at Cardiff, haha, those were the days. I can hardly believe that I’ve run into you after all this time. That too, across the North Sea. I’ve been talking the whole time, not even letting you answer. I am sorry. I am just really excited to see you. You do remember me now, don’t you?”
It took Anna a few seconds for everything Jacob had just said to sink in. She was barely paying attention and she had a feeling that wasn’t going to change today. Socializing was the last thing she wanted to do. And yet, some small part of her kept telling her not to run away right now. That she needed someone to talk to, and not just stay muter anymore. She mustered up her energy and resolve and finally replied to Jacob, who was still looking at her, waiting for a response, a worried look on his face along with a tentative smile.
“Hi, Jacob. Yea, sorry, of course, I remember you. I’m sorry, it’s been so long since we met. I think it’s been almost 7, maybe 8 years.”, she answered smiling.
Her smile must not have been as convincing as she had thought because Jacob did not smile back at her like she had been expecting.
“Are you okay Anna?”, he asked, instead.
Whether it was a familiar face or a friend in between the strangers or just the simple concern he was showing for her, Jacob’s question brought the tears she ha been hiding away out and she shook, automatically.
Anna closed her eyes with her hands, trying to stop and get her to resolve back. But it seemed almost impossible to her. She felt Jacob’s hands go around her immediately. But he didn’t try to stop her. He held her an ushered her out the bar, down the road and into a car that was parked on the side. Inside the car, he continued to hold her, letting her cry, no questions asked.
After a while, her tears dried up, automatically and she finally managed to pull herself together. She wiped her face with the handkerchief he was holding out and finally looked up at Jacob’s face.
What she saw there, took her breath away.
She had expected to see pity for her, instead, she saw genuine concern, worry and almost hurt for some reason she could not fathom. His face looked like he was hurt, just having seen her cry. Chalking it up to a mind that was not thinking, she smiled thanks and turned to stare out the window.
To be Continued…