“If Clocks Could Talk”
For a moment, just a moment, I stopped thinking. I took a breath and looked around. I wasn’t in a room full of people who loved me. On the other hand, I wasn’t in a room full of people who hated me either—at least part of me hoped they didn’t. They didn’t know me. But Seth was there, standing just inside the doorframe at the opposite end of the apartment. I looked up, and he looked up; and the only way to describe what happened next was that time stopped. If there were a giant clock looming in the background, its hands would have been frozen in front of its face. I couldn’t say whether there was a giant clock looming anywhere nearby though. I saw Seth and the door clearly, but everything else blurred past in only bursts of colors and shapes.
Still, I didn’t think. I watched the sparkle in his hazel eyes and breathed in. The air was thick glass shards that struck my throat, my lungs, my stomach. It didn’t matter that he had come, or that he was there. I knew that nothing would be the same as it had been that one night, no matter how much we could try. He blinked once, then twice more, and then he smiled one of those sorry smiles. Time began again. I heard a ticking in my head, and smiled back. Seth stuck his hands deep in the pockets of his khakis and shrugged.
A tap on my shoulder shook me from my moment of thoughtlessness. I turned and saw Nina standing next to me, holding up a flute of champagne as an offering. A bright, red strawberry floated between the bottom of the glass and the top, bouncing off the sides when Nina moved her hand.
“You good?” she asked me.
I looked back to where Seth had been standing, and he was gone—just like I’d feared he would be.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
We clinked our glasses and smiled, fully and happily. The cold, bubbly liquid slid down the back of my throat, soothing the raw skin, and I started to think again.