It was fall when I met you. I remember the temperatures were starting to drop and I was always so, so cold. We were just warming up in a café with steaming mugs of coffee cupped in our hands and nothing about it was significant. You passed me the cream when I asked you to and our hands brushed, which I distinctly remember because back then, physical contact always made me jumpy.
I didn’t really like talking to strangers but you opened your mouth first and I didn’t know how to stop the words from flowing out of it. I answered your questions in broken sentences because I was still too thinking about the way your skin felt when it grazed mine. You asked me if I liked the Avengers. I laughed because I thought that was a stupid question to ask a stranger. You smiled like you understood why.
I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. It sounds stupid to call it fate, but after that you were everywhere.
It was fall and I was starting to miss you. I remember because I was shivering outside a grungy bus stop when I decided to text you. My fingers moved sloppily along my keyboard because they’d started to grow numb with cold, but I kept retyping the words because I was determined to send you one simple, “Hey, what’s up?” It took you nearly twenty minutes to respond, but when my phone finally vibrated in my pocket everything inside me started to warm.
We had stopped seeing each other around and I wasn’t really sure why. We’d grown close in the last year, but I guess we both grew busy with our own work and our own dramas and we forgot how much we used to rely on each other. But you seemed happy to hear from me and we made plans to meet up for coffee the next day.
The moment we laid eyes on each other, it was like everything came rushing back. Maybe we’d become different people since we first met, but things were always the same when I was with you.
It was fall and I was starting to resent you. I remember because it was almost Halloween and my friends were all fretting over their costumes, but I was fretting over everything else. I was sleep deprived and stressed and everything in my life seemed to be crumbling apart, but mostly I was concerned because we were crumbling apart, too. What happened to us?
Eventually, I couldn’t take it. Too much was happening at once. I told you one night, tears running down my face as you sat across from me on the couch. You cried a little, too. You grew hurt when I asked you for space so I could clear my head. After that, you grew cold.
It’s funny, because I’d just started to believe in fate, but suddenly you were nowhere to be found.
It was fall when I ran into you the last time. I remember because I stopped by my favorite café, one you’d shown me long ago, so I could warm up a bit while I worked. When I saw you sitting in one of the chairs, I almost didn’t recognize you. When you looked up and caught my eye, I knew you recognized me.
It’s funny how feelings rise from the dead after years of being dormant. We entertained small talk for a few minutes, but I left as soon as I could. I was afraid of finding out if even still, after everything we’d been through, we still became the same people who met in that coffee shop years ago when we were back together. Truthfully, I think I already know that answer.
It’s funny, because I’d just told someone that I never though I’d see you again. It felt like a cruel joke.
It’s fall again and I don’t know what that means anymore. Sometimes I still expect I’ll turn a corner and find you waiting for me there. I’ve never been able to figure out when our story ends — maybe it never will. Maybe we’re destined to be a series of chance meetings, just vignettes decorated with apple orchards and jack-o’-lanterns and crisp air that tastes like pure nostalgia. Maybe there’s something poetic that I associate you with endings.
And I still don’t know if I believe in fate, and I don’t know if the stars were aligned for or against us. But I do know that every fall, I think of you. Maybe that’s its own form of fate.