There’s always something about New York that calms you.
The collective talking of people passing you by, the environment sounds from the nearby stores, the cluttering of utensils from restaurants you’ve passed by—there’s always been something about New York that calms you. It’s probably an irony because calm is the last word someone would use to describe New York, but still, something about noise silences you.
Eight in the evening and you’re on your way home from a fairly good day at work and by good day you mean stressful and fast-paced. That’s basically a good day for you because unlike most people you know, you love being occupied; you love cramming. You like pressure; to you, pressure is good.
The pavement you’re walking on has a certain kind of glow, that kind of glow it makes when it just rained and no, that’s not an excerpt from a Taylor Swift song. You’re walking your way to the subway, along with a large pack of people going the same direction.
New York’s never dead, that’s why you like it here.
You shuffle your iPod to your Recently Added playlist, mostly songs of a band you discovered from an officemate. But even before the music filled your ears, you caught a sight that stopped you dead on your tracks.
It’s him. There’s no doubt in your mind, it’s him.
As the dubstep rhythm blasts out of your headphones, you hear him laugh and it instantly took you back.
You first met him in Spain—a few months ago, back when you still worked there as a full-time wine taster and part-time hopeless romantic.
You can still recall that moment you met him for the first time. It was your first day at work and he was in his oversized blue shirt, walking the narrow hall of the restaurant you were both working for. He smiled as he greeted the staff and he doesn’t notice you at first; but he eventually did and he started calling you the wine girl because you know so much about wine and nobody knows wine in the staff as much you do.
You didn’t realize you have been staring far too long until he turns around and sees you. You look at his expression and you can tell he’s surprised but not a split second passed, he smiles; and you simply die—all over again, deep inside.
You smile back at him and when he walks the short distance between him and you, you finally see the truth about why it never worked out with him.
You remember about parallel lines and just how heartbreaking parallel lines could be. Parallel lines are like two people who can be so alike, so perfect for each other—yet, their paths just wouldn’t cross. Somehow, the other seemed to go on a different direction or maybe, the time ain’t right.
It’s heartbreaking to be the other half of those two parallel lines that never met and the other half is him: the guy walking toward you with a little girl up on his shoulder looking exactly just like him.
And that’s why it never happened with him. You can never be his child’s mother because you’re not.
“Hi,” he says and you just smile, unable to take your eyes off the little girl whose eyes look exactly like his father’s. “Her name is Meredith.”
“Meredith Grey,” you say. “Grey’s Anatomy, you’re favorite show of all time.”
He laughs, “Yes, I can’t help it.”
He looks at you the same way he looked at you on your last day at work. It’s that kind of look that stood between begging you stay and asking you to leave. It’s that kind of look that made you leave Spain, away from him—away from things that never really happened but meant a lot to you.
“You look happy,” you tell him because it’s true.
“You too,” he tells you and you believe him because you are. You are happy with someone else now.
Coming to New York, you know, someday, you’ll see him again because it’s his hometown. Maybe that’s the reason why you travelled nearly 3,000 miles across the country for a job offer. Maybe, the hope of seeing him again is the reason why you left LA, your hometown, in the first place.
Under normal circumstances, you’d be on the first plane back to LA—again away from this city, away from the things you love, away from the things that cannot happen.
“Are you going home?” he asks.
You nod because you are. You are going home to your lower Manhattan loft, watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show while eating a heated up slice of pizza, and fall asleep on the couch. You’re not taking the earliest flight to a new place now because you know, somewhere he is happy. You are, too.
And maybe, your story with him never happened because it is how it’s supposed to be: you, happy with someone else and him, happy with Meredith, and maybe, Meredith’s mom.
You laugh at yourself. You can’t help but remember the amount of tears you’ve cried on the plane you boarded from Spain to LA.
You loved him and you know he loved you.
But words change in tenses for a reason.
You used the word loved because you’re in New York now. You’re a part-time writer with horrible, demanding bosses and you’re a full-time girlfriend on weeknights and weekends.
“I’m going this way,” you tell him, pointing to the other direction.
“We should catch up some time,” he tells you.
You only nod because yeah, catching up never happens.
“I’m so glad to know you’re doing fine,” he tells you and you believe him. Aside from the way he throws his head back when he laughs, his brutal honesty is your favorite thing about him.
“I’m also glad to see you here,” you tell him and you start walking again. You look back at him one last time, taking one last look at the features you probably won’t forget. You wave goodbye to him, he and his daughter wave goodbye, too.
For the first time in a long time, this goodbye felt final. Like, finally, after a long while, you have learned to accept that some lines didn’t overlap because it wasn’t meant to happen. That some lines don’t cross because it causes so many complications—like planet axes. They are similar in all possible ways yet they never cross paths because when they do, worlds will collide.
You put your headphones back on because yeah, you’re glad you didn’t get what you thought you deserved back when you’re still the wine girl in Spain. When you see him again one day, it’d be bittersweet but at least, you now believe, that despite the pain of loss, there’s actually good in goodbye.
You see it now.
Good in Goodbye (Carrie Underwood)