The Ebb and Flow of Time

by Catherine Liu

‘but yeah it would be nice to stay as friends’ — the last text message sent.

it must’ve been unfortunate. for the both of us. that it happened to be you decided to swap seats.

i thought it was magical, to feel these overwhelming feelings flood into my beating heart. for someone

like you, who never brought any attention to herself, maybe it was your quiet nature that brought me to

like you. or your intelligence that i had yet to find out.

you shine so brilliantly in my eyes. still do, and always will.

but there was one time after a year when i lost the racing heat and found myself having a conversation

with you. as if we were just friends. about art and ‘what’s your favourite day of the week?’ void of

romantic feelings.

i wish i could have always seen you like that.

weeks turned into months, months turned into a year. a light fantasy turned into an unhealthy obsession. i thought of you at every wake.

i liked it when i thought of the possibilities of bumping into you and it actually happened. i would find

you in the dusty corridors of the third level. otherwise the empty courtyard. during break, i’d purposely

walk by and catch a glimpse of you listening in class.

it didn’t take me long to find out that this wasn’t fate. perhaps that art conversation was the only time we

were ever in sync.

the time when it was early morning and i was heading for the library. i saw you in my path; you didn’t

look like you from behind but when you turned to the side, i could tell. only then, i could tell.

and i looked at you so fondly. perhaps it’s because my memory is flawed or it was just how i wished to

see it, but you were so perfect in the sunlight seeping through the window. the warm tone, your peaceful

features, the way you positioned yourself at the table. i liked you, honestly.

perhaps i projected onto you. you were closely followed by my previous heartbreak. perhaps i was

looking for a newfound love. searching for that racing danger. for that bewildered feeling. something out

of the ordinary. kept me going in this old cat and mouse game.

but that was not love. obsession hurt me, depleted two years of my life, hurt you too. to know our

so-called friendship to be broken into bits and pieces because i saw you different. i’m so sorry that it

happened this way.

i can’t face you still. though you’re no longer my unhealthy obsession. though my heart doesn’t flutter

like how it used to, i get anxious. nervous. embarrassed. over the thought of accidentally bumping into

you again.

and with the sun gone, the glorious warmth left, and she did too.

how unfortunate it must be, if you ever think about me.

In her spare time, Catherine loves to write and draw. Otherwise, you’ll find her occasionally watching anime and reading books, or spending time making memories with her closest loved ones.

Darshni Rajasekar is an Illustrator at the UNSWeetened Literary Journal.