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All the time

I wanna twirl myself inside this madness.

I want to rip whatever that’s causing a chaos inside my heart, forcefully, hoping it would be shattered. Gone.

But somehow, someway, it assembled itself.

Haunting every corner.

All this time, I’ve been running,

and running,

and running,

toward something I wish I could call an exit.

But I never found it.

Let me get out of this,

I screamed.

Let me go.

Let me stop this crazy thing.

But no matter how long I run, I always come back to the same place,

and here it goes;

Starting it all over again from beginning.

Running from the same inexplicable thing.

Breathlessly trying to find a way out.

And here we are,

Here we are again.

The exact same place.

And finally,

I have come to an acceptance.

Either I run. And run. And run.

Trying to find an escape,

wondering why do I carry feelings I shouldn’t have and berating it,

or I just live my life like this.

Trying to find peace with your existence.

While pretending I don’t think about you.

But I do.

I do.

All the time.

 

Semestinya Rinjani

Namanya Rinjani.

Matanya bercahaya ketika ia bercerita dengan penuh semangat.

Membuat aku tersenyum, setiap kali mengingat cara ia menggerakkan tangannya dengan antusias.

Ia bercerita dengan menggebu-gebu. Paling senang kalau melihat dia mengernyitkan dahinya berusaha mengingat sesuatu. Juga saat dia tertawa, menertawakan apapun yang sedang ia ceritakan.

Tawa yang ingin kuambil dan kusimpan dalam toples bening, sehingga dapat selalu kupandangi saat sedang mendung. Entah itu cuaca maupun hati.

Rinjani biasanya tersenyum teramat manis sembari menyodorkan gelas kopi kepadaku, “Aku tau deh kamu maunya gimana. Kopi item, gulanya setengah sendok aja, iya kan?”

Lalu aku mengangguk. Kemudian dia akan tersenyum lagi, bangga pada dirinya sendiri.

Ketika aku menjemputnya pada satu malam minggu, Rinjani keluar dari rumah sambil memegang jaket. “Aku bawain jaketnya bapak buat kamu. Kamu tuh ya, kebiasaan deh, suka lupa pake jaket. Aku tau banget kamu pasti bakal lupa lagi. Tuh bener kan ternyata, kamu ga pake jaket lagi.”, ia mencibirkan bibirnya dengan kesal, sedangkan aku hanya tertawa bahagia.

Ya, aku bahagia. Teramat. Karena perhatian-perhatian seperti inilah yang membuat Rinjani perlahan namun pasti masuk ke dalam hatiku. Menempati bagian istimewa yang sudah lama tidak ditempati siapapun.

Rinjani pernah datang ke rumah sambil membawa sekotak martabak. “Kejutan!!” katanya, tersenyum lebar dengan sumringah.

“Loh kok? Malem-malem ujan-ujan gini, kamu naik apa?”, tanyaku heran, membuka pintu lebih lebar agar dia dapat masuk ke dalam. Rinjani tertawa kecil, “Aku dianterin Bapak, sekalian soalnya Bapak mau ke rumah temennya yang deket sini. Nanti juga dijemput Bapak lagi. Biasanya kan kalo lagi ujan gini kamu suka berasa pengen martabak, iya kaaann?”

Aku tertawa, kemudian membatalkan pesanan martabak di aplikasi transportasi online. “Untunggg aku belom check out pesenan martabak aku di handphone.”

Rinjani tersenyum lebar lagi, kali ini dengan ekspresi jahil, “Ih bener kan dugaanku. Untunggg kamu punya pacar kayak akuuu.”

“Iya, alhamdulilahh aku dipertemukan dengan Rinjani dalam hidupku, ya Allah. Hal terbaik dalam hidupku adalah Rinjani.”

Rinjani tertegun. Kemudian perlahan senyumnya mengembang teramat manis dan pipinya bersemu merah muda.

Aku mencuri sekecup bibirnya. Lalu dua kecup. Kemudian ikut tersenyum.

“Yuk makan martabak!”

Rinjani selalu paling tau, kadang rasanya dia lebih mengenal aku dibanding diriku sendiri.

Bahkan sebelum aku mengerti apa yang terjadi pada diriku sendiri, Rinjani selalu selangkah lebih duluan.

Ketika aku menerima kabar bahwa eyang yang membesarkan aku dari lahir sampai SMA telah meninggal dunia, aku meneruskan pesan tersebut kepada Rinjani tanpa banyak berpikir. Aku bahkan lupa apa yang aku pikirkan saat pertama kali membaca pesan dari ibu di hari itu.

Tidak lama kemudian, ada ketukan pintu. Saat aku membukanya, Rinjani berdiri di hadapanku. Menatapku dengan penuh kekhawatiran.

Kemudian tanpa banyak bicara, dia memeluk. Erat.

Entah bagaimana, pelukan itu menjadi sebuah pembuka bagi air mata yang mulai menetes, awalnya perlahan lalu semakin deras.

Rinjani hanya terus memelukku dalam diam, sementara rambutnya mulai basah oleh air mata.

Hati yang berduka, air mata yang terbendung gengsi cah lanang. Rinjani membukakan jalan agar air mata tersebut mengalir membebaskan diri, melegakan hati.

Hanya dengan sebuah peluk.

Itulah Rinjani. Dia selalu yang paling tau. Bahkan ketika aku belum tau.

Itu mengapa aku terheran-heran ketika ia memutuskan untuk pergi. Ia melepaskan dirinya sendiri secara paksa, katanya aku berubah.

Entah apa dariku yang berubah. Padahal menurutku, Rinjani yang berubah.

Ia mengubah isi hatinya, bagaikan menyusun ulang isi lemari, ia menata ulang semuanya. Lalu memutuskan bahwa aku tak boleh lagi berada di dalam sana.

Mengapa? Aku bertanya.

Apa yang salah?

Biar aku jadikan apa yang tak sesuai menjadi sesuai maumu.

Tetaplah di sini , Rinjani. Di sisiku saja.

Jangan kemana-mana.

Aku sudah meminta, aku sudah memohon.

Tolong, Rinjani, tolong. Apa jadinya aku, tanpa kamu?

Tapi Rinjani malah menjawab bahwa aku akan baik-baik saja.

Dunia akan tetap berputar, dan hidup akan terus berjalan.

Rinjani tetap pergi, bahkan ketika aku berusaha mempertahankan ia untuk tidak pergi. Meski air mataku tumpah berusaha menghalangi kepergiannya. Dia mencabik dirinya sendiri, meninggalkan luka menganga lebar di hati.

Mengapa Rinjani? Aku hanya bisa terus bertanya.

Sekarang setiap aku melihat perempuan, aku akan berpikir, “Dia bukan Rinjani.”

Banyak sekali perempuan dikenalkan kepadaku, tapi tak ada satupun yang bisa seperti Rinjani. Tak ada yang tawanya seperti Rinjani, tidak ada yang kerling matanya sejenaka Rinjani, tidak ada yang senyumnya secerah Rinjani, tidak ada yang bisa membalas ledekanku seperti Rinjani.

Seharusnya, Rinjani tau semua itu.

Bagaimana aku akan duduk sembari tertawa terbahak-bahak mendengar guyonan teman di warung kopi, tetapi di dalam hati ini ada darah yang masih mengalir perih.

Bagaimana aku akan tersenyum manis kepada ibu dan bapak, memberitahu mereka bahwa Rinjani baik-baik saja, lalu kembali ke kamar sambil merawat luka di hati.

Semestinya, kisah aku dan Rinjani tak seperti ini.

Semestinya, Rinjani yang paling tau.

Bahwa aku tak bisa tanpa ada Rinjani.

Karena tanpa Rinjani, hidupku tidak lagi utuh.

Dan nyawaku tak lagi perlu.

Quick Update

Hola.

I’ve been holding myself from writing, lately.

My grammar sucks but that doesn’t stop me from writing lol.

What kinda stopped me (for a little while, I hope) was some emotions I had, which made me afraid that they would be like… pouring out through my writings.

Like a can of paint being poured out on top of a blank paper.

I don’t know if that made any sense, but that was the reason I kinda stopped writing in the meantime.

Hopefully I would get back to it though, because even though I’m not very good at it, I love the feelings I got when I wrote stories out of my imagination.

Funny, remembering how writing was actually a way for me to pour out my emotions, yet the same reason made me stopped writing.

Temporarily, I hope.

Aubrey

I walked across the room, looking at this music box on a small wood desk.

Weird, very weird.

I have never came here before, but this music box looked familiar.

Very weird indeed.

“Have you waited long?”, a voice startled me.

She turned around, swiftly as soon as she heard me.

But it was like she moved in slow-motion. How her calf-length skirt swayed, how she spun herself, and how her hair covered her face partially as the wind blew.

She looked confused. Her expression was questioning me, and everything.

Deep down inside me, I was chuckling.

She was beautiful as always.

“Uh. Hi.”, I greeted this man in front of me.

He was wearing a white loose shirt, he has this silver fox hair and his eyes… they were magnetic. Those that would draw you in if you stared at them too long. Oh and I was doing that alright.

I tried to smile, awkwardly.

“Uhm. I’m Sierra.”

His smile faded as he stared at me, and he looked disappointed for a split second. Then he smiled, a smile that was so calming, so beautiful and so familiar.

Familiar?

“Hi, Sierra. Liking what you were looking at?” he pointed at the music box

“Ah yes. No. I mean, I don’t know. I think it was a music box?” I laughed, embarrassed at myself for getting so nervous.

He chuckled. It sounded like a warm espresso on a winter night.

He looked at me with a serious look on his face. “Yes it’s a music box. But you know, it could also be a treasure box or something. Do you want to try to open it?”

He smiled teasingly. I blushed.

“I don’t know. Can I?” I looked at the music box again.

He stood beside me. He walked so quietly I almost didn’t realize it.

“Sure. If you have the key.”

We just stood there in silence while staring at this music box keyhole.

Ah, yes, I just realized it has a keyhole on it.

Do I have the key?

Weird. So weird.

I felt so relaxed. So peaceful that it was weird.

Ah, where is this place again?

Wait, why am I here?

I started to looked around slowly.

There were no other thing in this room but this desk and a music box on it.

The walls were the color of autumn leaves. I love autumn.

How do I get here again?

I looked at this man in front of me, quizzically.

What was his name again?

I smiled.

It’s always entertaining when she narrowed her eyes and got deep in thought.

I missed that. So much that it was so painful that I had to wait such a long time.

“I painted the walls. Because you like them, don’t you? The color of ginger and cinnamon? Of how the leaves changed their colors on fall? You also like to step on dried leaves just to hear the crackling sound they made.” I couldn’t help myself but chuckled as I remembered that.

I darted my eyes on his immediately.

Did I know him? I do know him, don’t I?

My eyes started to get wet. Uh why was this again?

I felt a strong feeling of longing something.

I stared at him, looking into his hazel eyes, trying to find an answer.

My hands reached for my pocket and I felt my hand touching something metal cold.

I looked at him with tears welling up.

He smiled gently, “You have the key?”

I pulled out a small gold key.

“Do you want to try to put that key in? You might find something treasured inside. Probably your old mitten? The one that you couldn’t bear of throwing it away even though it was already so worn out. The color was not even olive green anymore.” he laughed and looking at me, amusingly.

I pouted.

He had this twinkle in his eyes and smiled coyly.

“I love your pout. I always have, I always do, I always will, Eyra.”

Butterflies were flying erratically in my stomach. My heart thumping hard.

I know this guy. I surely do.

Even the butterflies in my stomach knew that I do, they felt so familiar, like a de ja vu.

I ignored him and focusing on the music box instead.

My hand was shaking slightly, but I managed to put the key inside it.

I twisted it gently and heard a click sound.

I looked at this man who was smiling so gently at me. He gleamed with anticipation.

I opened the music box gently.

The melody of Aubrey song was filling up the room.

And Aubrey was her name,
We tripped the light and danced together to the moon

I watched how realization dawned upon her, memories were hitting her hard, her tears started streaming down.

I puled her into my arms, embracing her. I caressed her ash gray hair and hold her small fragile body tightly as she cried her heart out.

“Gregory.. Oh Gregory… How I missed you… How could I forgot you…” she wept.

I smiled into her hair and kissed the top of her head.

“I forgot who I was when I first got here too, darling. It’s okay. It’s okay. I know you would remember me anyway.”

I pulled her chin up, holding her gaze.

He kissed my tears.

My sweet, sweet Gregory.

How could I forgot him?

After all this time I’ve waited for this moment to be with him again.

I held his hand tightly.

“Finally. Finally I can see you again.”

I stroked his face gently and lovingly.

He smiled and kissed the inside of my wrinkly palm.

“I know. I missed you too.”

I smiled brightly.

It was so bright in this room as well.


 

“Aubrey. Are you done?”

“Ah yes, just a little while.”

I took the music box from the drawer.

Mom often asked me to open this music box to her in the hospital, she would listened to the music serenely.

It reminded her of dad, I guess.

I sat on the edge of my bed.

I remembered how they used to play this music box to stop my tears back then when I was a little kid. When dad passed away, mom would sometimes open this music box too. Now that I thought about those moments again, I believed those were times when she was missing him.

So I would open this on the funeral. And later I would too, when I miss them.

I smiled at the music box and wiped my tears.

Slowly, I opened the box.

Mom, Dad, I miss you.

Oh and mom, have you met dad?

 

Reset

My name is Albert.

My family call me Al, while most of my friends call me Bert. Actually, I think all of my friends call me Bert. All, except one.

She never called me Bert. Nor Al. Heck, not even Albert.

The first time we met was at Tony’s, my friend, birthday party. She was his girlfriend’s cousin. Tony brought her around when I was getting another drink, I heard him giving a swift introduction, “Here, this dude over here is Albert. But we usually just call him Bert.”

I turned my back, facing them. In front of me was Tony with a tomato red face, proof that he was starting to drank too much alcohol, and a gorgeous woman with a shoulder-length brown hair. Her eyes were as black as the night sky, twinkling like there were stars inside.

Suddenly I felt like stuttering. “Hi.”

Her eyebrows shot up a little bit and she smiled coyly, “Hi.”

What a simple word with only two letters. But that, along with her smile, had successfully got me smitten. Oh call me shallow, call me vain. But I was sure at that moment a cupid just shot me right in the heart. Nice shot, buddy, nice shot.

I grinned like an idiot, “Hi.”

Oh wait, that was the second hi, wasn’t it. I was truly an idiot. She chuckled while Tony looked at me like I had just peed myself. Then Tony introduced her to other people and later on the evening I saw her hanging out with other girls. She laughed, throwing her head to the back. Her brown hair swaying, and her head tilted to the side while listening to her friends talking.

The rest of the night was a blur. But I remembered waking up on my bed the next morning, alone, and kept thinking about her. The way her eyes squinted when she laughed, the way she put her hand on the side of her hip, and… her smile. I remembered clearly she had a very beautiful smile.

On the afternoon, I decided I should asked Tony her number. But first, coffee.

I remember the guys said something about a new coffee shop around the office complex. Well, might as well try another new thing today. Other than daring myself to ask for a girl’s number to my asshole friend, risking myself to be a teasing object for weeks.

As I pushed open the door and my eyes scanned around for someone I might knew, they were stumbled on a pair of familiar eyes. I felt out of breath.

The risk of being teased for asking her number was gone. But there was now a huge risk of making myself a fool right in the middle of this coffee shop, and right in front of her.

For a split second, I was thinking, did she remember me? Did she not? What if she didn’t? What should I say? Should I reintroduce myself? That were a lot of thinking in a brief moment, so I finally went with the easiest way to make sure.

I smiled.

And my heart was beating faster as her eyes lit up, telling me that she remembered me. She remembered me. A little version of myself inside my head was doing a happy dance, jumping and shouting triumphantly YES!! SHE REMEMBERED ME!!

She waved her hand, “Hi!”

“Hi there!” I said, probably way too brightly. She gave me a broad smile, the smile I remember, and her shoulder relaxed.

“Hi, B.” she said again. Smiling, teasingly.

I was stupefied a moment, then letting out a relieved laugh. It felt like all the nervousness depleted.

That afternoon, my decision to get a cup of coffee at a new place turned out to be an amazing 1 hour of talking and laughing and seeing her laugh which in return made me laugh, deliriously happy. She had no idea this was the new recommended place the guys talked about, she just dropped a document for her boss at a nearby building. Something her secretary friend usually would do, but today that friend was on sick leave so she had to do it instead.

I believe that was fate, the one just like in those romantic cliche movies and novels. Hey turned out it was real. It’s like that quote in a famous book, if you really want something, the universe will conspires to make it happened. Or something like that.

I saved her number to my phone before we left the coffee shop.

And that was the beginning of us chatting all day. Phone calls on nights, talking until one of us fell asleep. A date a week later. Almost nonstop chats. Phone calls every night. More dates.

And a new nickname.

B.

No one ever said something but as we continued our chats and calls and dates, we knew we were an item. People knew she was mine and I was hers.

Life was good. Life was beautiful. It felt like the sky was always bright blue and the birds chirping happily on the background.

On days it was actually raining, I was still happy. We would snuggling inside the blanket and sharing a big mug of hot coffee. We would order delivery foods, watching Netflix, cuddling, warming up each other and at the end of the night, I knew I would fall asleep with her in my arms.

Sometimes on a relax evening, we listened to slow ballad songs using only one set of earphone, swaying our heads in sync, sometimes looking at each other and smiled. And I loved to watch how she closed her eyes, tilted her head to side, and slowly, repeatedly nodding her head, immersing to the song.

Then, as all other couples, we had our first fight. Our second. Our third. And it became countless.

She called me asshole more often now. Oh and jerk. If we count how many times she called me asshole and jerk, I think they would be tied on the first place.

I didn’t even remember when, but it started to felt tense when we were in the same room. Not a desirable kind of tense. Rather like I-could-claw-your-eyes-out-if-you-said-the-wrong-thing kind of tense.

I felt exhausted, everything I said could and would turn into something she held against me. Everything was wrong. We were mean to each other, and I was not sure how, but it felt like we hate each other.

So one day, on a breezy Saturday afternoon, we decided we were better when we’re not together.

Before we parted ways, she gave me a hesitant and wry smile, “Can we… Can we, well, still be friends?”

I looked at her, unblinking.

Then I tried my best to smile lazily, not sure if it looked convincing and assuring, “Yeah. Sure. I mean, sure that goes without saying. Friends. Right?”

That was 3 years ago and for the past 3 years we didn’t exactly be friends. Only contacted each other to say Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, without small talks. Every wish was replied with a “Thank you, you too, have a wonderful day!” full stop.

We never bumped into each other again, because she moved to another city and pursue her master degree there.

Sometimes, on a breezy afternoon when I was sipping my warm coffee in a coffee shop, I would remember her. Like now.

I remember how we coincidentally met at a coffee shop. Her vibrant smile, the way she touch her nose when she was embarrassed, how her eyes went bigger when I brought her favorite cake, the sound of her laughter and how she threw her head back when she laughed.

The episodes when she screamed and yelled at me were not forgotten, but they didn’t feel like they were as infuriating as back then. I could remember how she cried and made me feel like I was such a loser and at the same time, monster towards her. But I wonder if I said better words, lowered the tone of my voice, and tried to talk things out with her… Would it be different now? If every time we fight I stayed and calmly listened to her instead of slamming the door and left the house, would we still be together?

Could both of us be a better version of ourselves?

I wonder,

If I were given a second chance, would I seize it?

Would I press the reset button and start afresh with her?

I smiled mirthlessly and sipped my coffee. Well, enough wondering what ifs. I put the cup down and got up.

As I walked through the pavement, I could feel the wind was getting even colder. Frosty air prickling on my face. I walked faster and got into the subway station, it felt so much better without the icy cold wind slapping my face. I shifted my postman bag and strode across to the escalator.

I stood on the left side, absentmindedly.

But somehow, from the corner of my eye, I caught someone like her. I turned my head to the left. There she was, standing on the other side of escalator going down, eyes downcast.

Hair still as brown as mahogany. But it was wavy now, and longer.

There was a sudden rush urge to see her face clearly so I called her name, but it came out almost like whisper. And I held my breath.

Slowly, she lifted her head. Her eyes looked confused, like she heard someone called her name but not sure if she was imagining it or not.

After a split second that felt like ten years for me, she turned her head to her left side and saw me.

And just like that, she smiled.

A smile that was so radiant, she looked beatific.

As my escalator kept going up and hers kept going down, we were holding our breath while staring at each other intently.

She opened her mouth to say something and close it again.

And finally, she called out,

“B!”

Roller Coaster

So, I think to myself.

Now that I’m here at the amusement park I wished I went with you.

Would you see that,

Clouds above our head, like a white cotton candy swirling around.

Would you see that,

People laughing gleefully, eyes enlightened with excitement.

Would you smell the hot air of mid June,

kissing our skin together with sunbeam.

Would you,

hold my hand?

I smiled.

Imagining how you tried to clasp my hand, awkwardly.

Yet you would try to do it nonchalantly.

And I would feel your hand sweating with nervousness.

Or was that mine?

I wonder,

Would you smile at me?

The way I do every time I remember you.

Or would you laugh?

Because I would love to see you laugh.

How your face lit up with happiness,

and all problems felt like evaporated to the air.

I look up,

Clouds scattered on the azure sky.

Reminded me of my fragments of heart.

While I try to make them stay stringing on a thin thread of hope.

I look at the roller coaster ride stopping in front of me.

Hopping into the car.

And slowly, I can hear the rattling sound it makes.

Like two massive gears are grinding,

As the ride ascending slowly uphill.

Adrenaline rush surging inside my bloodstream.

I feel anxious.

Thrilled.

And I wonder,

If you were right here beside me,

Would your heart throbbing fast like crazy,

Would you feel like you were weightless,

A bubble floating up to the sky,

Evanescent?

As the ride makes a screeching sound,

and reach its highest point,

I wish I was holding your hand.

 

And as it falls,

I wonder,

If you were right here beside me,

Our fingers intertwined.

Our hearts pounding.

Would you,

fall for me?

 

 

Another Time

Sounds of people’s steps rushing up and down the stairs.

From the speaker, a lady told us that a train would arriving soon.

I held my tote bag closer.

Train arrived and opened the door.

Inside my mind, I chanted along the sound emitting from the train speaker, asking people to be careful with their steps.

And that doors are closing.

Another morning. Another peak hour rush.

I glanced around me, searching for a familiar face.

Couldn’t find it.

I felt a pang of disappointment.

I was putting my earphone on, thinking maybe listening to my favorite songs would make me feel not so despondent, when someone running towards the door and jumped inside exactly before the door closed.

He landed with a thud!

Very close to me, palms still on his knees.

His breath heavy.

I stood still, still overcoming my own shock.

Slowly, he raised his head and stand straight.

And then, he smiled.

Like a sparkling-light-bulb smile.

A smile that left me stunned.

Time was broken at the moment.

It was dysfunctional.

It was mummified.

How come such warm smile could froze me, I didn’t really understand.

“Sorry. That must startled you.”

And he held on to the pole I was also holding on.

That was it.

The face I was looking for.

And I,

I was still standing breathlessly. Imprinting his voice. His smile. Into my mind.

It’s been a few months now, every workday morning, I would try to find him among the crowd.

I didn’t know what drew me in.

Probably his gorgeous face.

Or the way his musky perfume scent evaporated into the air and left behind a whiff.

Or the electric sparkle I felt whenever I saw him.

I felt my days are brighter when I found him on the same train with me.

And for a short 10 minutes, I was content by looking at him.

Even only a glimpse.

Even only a part of his head in flood of people inside the train.

I would recognize his hair.

His side look.

His chiseled jaw.

His eyes staring intently to his phone.

Or the way they sometimes just staring out of the window.

“That’s alright.”

I said, trying so hard not to stutter.

And he smiled again.

Heart palpitations.

I believed I was sweating visibly now.

Because I felt feverish.

Now.

Now would be a good chance for me to ask for his number.

No, not his number.

His name.

Baby steps, I reminded myself.

I didn’t have to rush.

Or should I?

What would he thought if I asked his name?

Should I introduce myself first? Would that be weird?

My heart was still beating so fast I was worried it would get overdrive and I would drop dead.

What would be his name?

Would it suit him?

Wait, I never thought about this before, but was he even single?

He might be married. Or engaged. Or in a serious relationship.

Or none of the above.

God, I would never know if I did not start asking his name.

Wait no, I should tell him my name and let him tell me his name, instead of asking him his name out of nowhere.

Or probably I should make small talks first.

Yes, that would be good.

Right?

Right.

Small talks.

Maybe about the weather.

No, that’s lame.

About the train crowd?

I looked up and tried to muster up my courage when the train speaker announced that we would soon arriving at his station.

I swallowed my words.

His eyes darted up from his phone screen to the train door.

And moved to me.

I swallowed again, literally this time.

He smiled.

A smile that light up the world.

Slowly he made his way to the door.

And so, I tell myself again,

Repeated the same words I’d told myself these past few months.

Next time.

Next time I would ask him his name.

Or even his number.

Next time.

Yeah, next time I would.