Chapter 4: Dave – Chances

Image result for chicken deli sandwich

I expect Robbie to glance back and at least throw one final smile at me, but he did not. Maybe that’s asking too much, he already gave a few smiles when we talked a few minutes ago, and it isn’t just a civil conversation, I felt his cordiality in each of the words he said. After what I did to him, the heartbreak I made him go through, I don’t think I deserve that cordial regard, even a smile.

But that last glance, that last smile. It may seem nothing, but for someone who has been living with the guilt of breaking someone’s heart, it was the closest thing to a closure I’d ever get.

I cheated on Robbie, broke his heart, and then even tore it to tiny pieces by breaking up with him even if he still wanted to make things work for the both of us. I’m the villain in our story.

Don’t get me wrong, I did loved Rob; we wouldn’t have been together for over a year if I hadn’t seriously loved him, but things happened, I let it things happen. I guess I was interested in other options.

When Robbie found out that I was cheating on him, he dealt with it with so much grace and tact, maybe that’s why I felt really guilty, he never played the victim card, he never got angry at me, or at least he never showed it to me. He just wanted us to fix things, to make the relationship work. But I couldn’t anymore.

I told Robbie that it would be best for the both of us if we break up. I knew in my heart that our relationship is bound to end eventually, even if we try to work things out, even if I stayed. I know what I’m capable of and it would be so unfair for Robbie. I’m no longer good for him. I know that in the long run, Robbie will thank me for making him quit me.

So, there I was standing while I wait for him for to glance back, but it never happened. Robbie walked away carrying his coffee and donut, along with my peace of mind. I felt lonely; it’s like a deep void has been carved inside my heart. I have never allowed myself to be depressed about our break-up, how could I? It was my choice after all, but this chance encounter with Robbie stirred a lot of feelings I didn’t knew I still had. I had to give in to the sadness, it’s screamed to be acknowledged. I finally understood it, even if the break-up was entirely my fault; I should have mourned it.

After my meeting I went straight for lunch, there’s this deli shop right in front of the building, just beside the now historic Starbucks Coffee this morning. I still have an appointment to catch right after lunch time, a quick bite would do. I ordered a roasted chicken sandwich and a fruit platter over at the counter and then started looking for a table. Since it was lunch time, most of the tables were taken. I stood in the middle of the store holding my tray, looking for a vacant table when one of the staff of the store took notice of me and then pointed me at a stair which is partially hidden, that leads to a second floor, he told me that there are more seats upstairs.

As I reach the second floor landing, I cannot help but notice that the tables here are much larger, most probably designed for groups of four or five people. I walk over to an empty table but then I see someone familiar right before I reach the table.

Robbie was having lunch with his best friend, Ludo. They see me, I smile at them nervously. Even if it is the second time I saw Robbie today, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed when he smiles back at me.

I approached their table, and just like a fool who never thinks about the repercussions of his actions I asked them, “Is it okay if I join you guys?”

Ludo looks at Robbie while Robbie looks at me. “Sure”, Robbie replies.

I sit myself in front of Robbie. Ludo greets me with fake-iest smile I’ve ever seen, which I clearly understand; Robbie’s friends hates me for what I did to their friend. Who wouldn’t hate me, right?

“Thank you for the coffee and donut this morning.” Robbie says.

“You let him buy you coffee and donut?!” Ludo mocks Robbie.

Robbie gave Ludo a “shut-up-please” look and turns to me and smile.

“Yep, No big deal…”, as I ignore Ludo’s side comment.

Then Ludo looks at me, “So, why are you here? This is Robbie’s side of town…”

“I’m just here for a project, it’s just for a few weeks and I won’t even be here everyday” I explained while glancing at Robbie. I understand that this side of the town is his place, his territory and I shouldn’t be just barging in unannounced.

“Well, then that’s good!” Ludo blurts out as he shot me and Robbie a glance.

“Be nice, Ludovic…” Robbie quips.

“I am nice.” Ludo replies, as he shift his attention to his meal.

Smelling hostility in the air, I decide not to respond anymore and just sit there until I finish my sandwich and fruits. I cannot blame Ludo for being mad at me; he might have been the receiver of all the drama I caused Robbie. Ludo have been nothing but nice to me all throughout the time Robbie and I dated.

If there’s someone I should blame for this awkward lunch, it is me. What was I thinking? “Is it okay if I join you guys?”-shit. Stupid me.

Robbie, the ever-sensitive guy tries to break the silence by asking me about the project I’m doing for their company.

“It’s just a test app for the employees, like a community board conveniently inside your smart phone”, I explain.

“Wow, they are really shelling out money for that?” Robbie replies.

“It makes communication easier for a large firm…” I continue to explain.

Our conversation was like a job interview, someone asks, and then someone answers. We can’t seem to transcend from the trivial even though I’m itching to ask him how he’s been. When you see your ex that you have not seen in a long while, you always want to know how he’s been.

I excuse myself and stand up as soon as I finished my lunch, and as I say my goodbye to the both of them, Ludo’s phone ring. He motions to Rob that he needs to take the call, and head out to the other side of the room where the balcony is, leaving me and Robbie at the table.

“Thanks for letting me share a table with you, I’m sorry if I kind of ruined your lunch and Ludo’s.” I say.

“No, it’s ok… I’m sorry if he’s a bit off…”

“I clearly understand where he’s coming from…  I’ll go ahead now.” I quickly reply.

“It’s nice seeing Dave, bye”.

“Bye, Rob”, One last smile and I turn my back.

I start walking towards the stairs while Ludo goes back to our table still talking on the phone.

As I step down the stairs, I realize that I still want to talk to Robbie. Why? I don’t know, but I felt the need to talk to him more. I turn around and call his name out as I walk back towards him. Robbie was standing beside Ludo, who is still on his phone. Robbie looks at me as he hears his name.

Yes? Robbie asked.

Then, with all the strength inside me, I asked him.

“Is it okay, if I get your number?”

He takes out a pen from his shirt’s pocket and grabs a paper napkin from the table.

He hands me the napkin.

Written on it is his phone number with the logo of the deli shop we’re in, Chances.

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