He kept staring at the grey wall in the corner of Boulangerie Chaud, a french bakery located in St. Bernard street–a unique area with lots of cafe and vintage shop, used to be his favorite place with Jessy. Everything is still the same. One year? Two year? He forgot how long it’s been since that day. It’s supposed to be his favorite corner, but somehow life found a way to make it into the most sorrowful corner in one man’s life.
Looks like the table cloth is still the same. Adam thought to himself. Not only the cloth, almost every part of that corner was still the way it used to be. The small wooden table with a lot of old labels on its legs and an used french car plate number on the surface. The two chairs that squeak a little every time you lean on them. Adam looked closely on the table and he saw a familiar figure. No way! Even the stupid looking wooden rabbit is there. Gosh… Well done, life. She used to make fun of him because he really like the rabbit and often asked the owner to sell it to him.
All of those stuff brought him back to the past–well, maybe not really, as it’s always there in the back of his mind until this day. He remembered when they celebrated their first anniversary at that same corner. He remembered how she was surprising him with a very rare collection of Adam’s favorite superhero comic. It was the perfect gift that he could ever imagined. Adam was a geek, so naturally superhero comic was his jam. All of them are still there next to his bed. He didn’t have the heart to throw them away even though they kept reminding him of her.
He remembered the taste of her lips when Jessy kissed him three years ago in that same exact corner. Adam was asking her to move in with him, and she nodded without hesitation. It was the happiest smile that Adam had ever seen on her–and the best kiss he ever had.
But, what he remembered the most was how happy he felt that day when he proposed to her just a few months after they moved in together. Bold move, but Adam felt that it was the right decision back then. Adam remembered he asked the waiter to bring the menu and he ordered the special-of-the-day cake. It was a blueberry cheesecake–her favorite of course–and it was served on a square plate with four little holes on each side. It supposed to be the place for the blueberry jam, but Adam thought it would be the perfect place to place the ring. So he did and not long ago after he ordered, the cake came. Once the waiter served the cake, Adam stood up and then knelt on his knee, and he popped up the question. She said yes. Took her a while to digest what was happening but eventually she smiled and said, “Yes, Adam Rafael. It’s a definite yes.” It was the happiest day for both of them, or at least that what he thought.
Then somehow everything changed.
They started to talk less and less. When they got home from work, they only talked a little, asking the standard questions, then focused on other thing. Adam usually went to do his unfinished works from his office until late night. At that time, he was in-charge of a very big project and it consumed almost 24 hours of his time everyday. He did try to put aside his work from time to time and hoping that he can have a quality time with her. Yet, somehow Jessy always had a reason to avoid him. Adam felt that she was distancing herself from him somehow. It drove him crazy. He remembered he once took a day off from office and followed her all day long, but nothing was out of ordinary. Everything was just normal. He felt a bit disappointed after he got home, thinking how low he has been that he needed to quietly follow her around all day to see what she’s up to.
A couple months went by and Adam were still having the same uneasy feeling about their relationship. Finally he gather his courage and decided to confront her. He waited until she got home from work one day, it was supposed to be the anniversary date for both of them, but Adam set up the whole thing so they can have alone time at the house. His heart wouldn’t stop beating so fast the whole day. Man.. this is even worse than I imagine. I thought asking her to marry me was nerve racking enough.. but this is something else. He sighed while preparing the dinner table.
Around 8 pm, the door swung open and there she was. She brought a box that was wrapped beautifully. “Hey honey..” she walked in and hung her coat in the hanger next to the door. “Hmmm.. Smells good.”
“Well? Remember this?” he lifted up the big plate in the middle of the table.
She hesitated for a moment but then she put the box on the table and looked at him, smiling. “How could I not?” She walked to him and give him a kiss–one thing he missed from her. “You cooked this for me on our first date. I was sick and instead of going to that famous restaurant that you really want to try, you decided to make this simple dish so I can stay at home to rest and have a nice meal. I was so charmed that day. I even considered you to be the one.” she put out her cheeky laugh and put her arms around Adam’s neck.
“You do remember.” he said.
“Of course I do.” she kissed him again. “Happy anniversary, Adam.”
At that very moment, Adam felt like all the things that he was afraid of might be just a false alarm. Maybe everything were just alright. Maybe it was nothing. But he couldn’t get rid of this uneasy feeling in his chest.
“Let’s eat.” he let go of her and both of them sit down and begin to eat.
The dinner was quiet. He looked at her from time to time. She’s wearing this blue shirt with a black trouser. Her usual work outfit, but secretly Adam’s favorite clothes of her. She’s just as beautiful as ever..
“Hey hon…” she suddenly called to him.
“Where are we?”
Adam was silent for a minute. “What do you mean?”
“You know what I meant.”
“You tell me. Where do you want us to be?” he asked her.
“Home.” she answered immediately. “I want to be at home.”
I, huh? I guess ‘us’ was no longer in the loop. Adam thoughts to himself. “So, where is your home?”
She didn’t answer the question. She, instead, kept talking about their memories. Their places. Their best kept secret restaurant. She kept asking him whether he remember this and that.
And after a while, she’s out of topic. Adam took this chance to ask her again. “So, where is your home?”
“……” she looked into his eyes but she can’t find a word. “I.. I… I don’t know.” her smile faded and her head was tilted to the back as she lean into the chair. “Where is yours, Adam?”
“I really hope it’s you.” he looked at her. There is an obvious sadness in his eyes. Even she could tell what he meant with that.
“Since when?” he asked again.
“A couple months ago.”
“So…” he hesitated. “Just like that?”
“I guess it’s just like that.” she close her eyes and then she reached his hands. “I’m sorry…”
“I’m sorry too.”
She stood up and as she walked away to their room, Adam took the box and said, “Is this like a parting gift from you?”
She stopped and smiled at him. The saddest smile he’s ever seen since he met her the first time. “No, it’s not a parting gift. It’s..” she choked a bit. “It’s a part of me that will always remember you.”
He keep staring at that corner right there. All of these flashbacks made him a bit froze in the front of the cafe, and he was still deciding whether he should go inside or not. Until the owner came outside and called him.
“ADAM!” the owner tapped his shoulder quite hard, he almost stumbled upfront.
“Hey, Frederick..” he regained his balance and smiled to him, and shook his hand. “You look good.”
“I know. And you look like shit, man.” Frederick said in his thick French accent. “How long has it been, huh? One year? Two year?”
Adam looked again to the corner and smiled. “Long. Really long.”
“Come on in, I’ll treat you some coffee. You still love that Cinnamon Latte, right? Let me make one for you, man.” Frederick grabbed Adam’s shoulder and pushed him inside.
Though, Adam wasn’t sure what he felt, but he went inside anyway. It was a bit weird and nostalgic, but still, there was this slight pain that he couldn’t explain. He took a sit near the door that apparently has the view of that grey wall. Well… this is convenient. He thoughts to himself while glaring to Frederick.
Not long after he sat down, Frederick came to the table with his latte. The smell, again, reminded him of the whole thing with her. It used to be ‘their drink’. Adam was a cinnamon freak and somehow he was able to persuade her to try the cinnamon latte and since then she was hooked. They always ordered the latte when they hung out in the cafe.
Frederick stayed for a while and talked with him, did some catch up with Adam before he’s back behind the counter to serve the new customers that were just came.
Fine. I might as well as enjoy it while I’m here. Adam took out a book from his bag and started to read from where he left it before. It was the first book he bought after Jessy left him. It’s A Cup of Moments by Amy Anderson. Curious about the title, he ended up buying it. In no time, Adam was drowned into his own reality with the story that he was trying to imagine in his head. It was until he stumbled into a tiny part of the book where the main character with one other person about love-letting go-follow your heart-kind of thing, and suddenly this other person told him..
..and Lanny grab John’s hand and said, “You know what? I’m going to kiss you. I’m going to kiss you right now. I don’t know when I can see you again. Maybe next month. Maybe next year. Maybe not ever. I don’t want to leave with regrets. I don’t want to wake up one day and then realized that I might have done the stupidest thing in my life by letting my past controls me on how to love and let it drives me to this nothingness with a piece of rope hanging over my head.
And in the same time Adam finished reading that part, a lady came inside the bakery. She was alone and she wore this funny summer dress and hold a little cartoon-ish back pack. Adam was looking at her the whole time since she walked in. Something about this woman intrigued him. Maybe it was the way she dress or the way she walk or maybe the way she talked–Adam was eavesdropping her talking to Frederick at the counter.
She made her order and started to look for a table. She looked around and decided to go to the corner where there was one empty table in there. The table that Adam has been starring into before she walked in. This woman pulled back the chair and sit there in that gray corner table. Once she sat comfortably in her chair, she started to organize her table and her backpack. The table now was full of her stuff. A phone, a purse, a note book, a camera, and a book. Adam recognized the book right away. It was the same book that he hold in his hand right now. He noticed the book-stopper near the end of the book.
Adam looked into his book again. It’s still open on the same page, and he ended up reading the same part of the story again. He read it. Then he turned his eyes to the lady, and just after a few seconds, he closed the book and took a deep breath. “Here goes nothing.” he said and stood up.
He took a glance to the counter and saw Frederick gave him a big smile and lift his fist to the air like he’s cheering Adam. No other customers notice him, but Adam. He gave him a stern look, but still managed a crooked smile on the corner of his lips.
He approach the woman and slowly walked to her side of the table. “Hey.. Sorry for bothering you. ” he stopped and took a small breath. “I was there looking at you and I couldn’t let myself to having a regret by not saying hi to you. I can’t let my past dictates me and drives me to this nothingness once I walked out from this place.”
“Page 210.” she smiled. “You read the book too.”