I spot him the moment he walks in to the room, his Gatsby smile as bright as ever. His eyes scan the room, barely resting on one face for longer than a moment before moving to the next one. Until his eyes find mine. His charming smile becomes smaller, sincere, the corners of his eyes crinkling with memory and time. I return the smile and raise my hand in a wave, bringing my hand back on to my heart. His hand finds his heart too as he offers a small bow in my direction. I chuckle and hold his gaze until someone grabs his arm, pulling him into a noisy conversation about his latest achievement.
A small infinity had passed between us, a roller coaster spanning years. Although much had changed, I was still seventeen when he looked at me, nervous and loving- an old friend who had been there through it all. Although the love had changed and shifted, the tiny string still held us together. And as he continued his conversation with another old friend, I watched him talk, watched him work the room. The piece of hair still stuck up defiantly from the back of his head. I knew he would be livid when he glanced in a reflective surface to find his hair out of place.
I’m glad it is over. I am glad I have moved on. I am also glad that there is still a tiny ache in my heart when I see him. That ache is pure and real. I earned that ache.