They were sitting outside the resto, the two of them, Marc and Iva. It was past 11 in the evening and the nearby shops had begun closing their doors.
They were both silent now, after talking for more than 3 hours. Still, they each felt hollow, as if there was still something terribly important they wanted to talk about but haven’t talked about in the course of the evening. The truth was, they didn’t really know what it was they wanted to say to each other. It was at the tip of Marc’s tongue — it was something deeply profound — but he couldn’t utter it. It was at the top of Iva’s head — it was something utterly poignant — but she couldn’t find the words for it.
Finally, they both sighed simultaneously, but inaudibly.
“Well,” she said.
“Well,” he said.
“I better be going now,” she said.
“Yeah, you better,” he said while glancing at his watch.
“I hope we won’t wait for another 3 years to get together again.” She smiled.
“Three years is such a long time.”
“Infernal.” He chuckled.
“Well, then,” she said.
“Well, then,” he said.
“See you around,” Iva said, and they shook hands like they were business partners.
The lights inside the cafe died out as they parted, and they each found their way somehow to their respective cars.
Marc watched Iva as she drove out of the parking lot. She honked her horn a couple of times and he waved at her through the window, but he wasn’t sure if she’d seen him for the tint of his car was a shade darker than hers. She was gone before he realized it.
Earlier in the evening, he had clung to each second of their time together. He knew those seconds would inevitably slip away, yet he held on to them as hard as he could with his mind and tried to focus on certain details that he might be able to remember later on – the twinkling of the chandeliers inside the resto, the glare of the decorative lights over the door, the sheen on the tables outside the store, the shimmering of the SUVs in the parking lot, the shadowy trees beyond the commercial complex, the sparkling of the silver dusts on Iva’s face, and so on.
He let his hands slip off the steering wheel and rest on his lap. He opened the windows and turned off the engine. Immediately the evening air rushed into his car and the stillness of the night enveloped him. Almost all of the shops were dark now and he watched the security guard from one end of the parking lot approach him slowly.
“Are you waiting for someone, sir?” the guard asked him.
“Yes,” he answered. “Can I wait here for awhile? Just for awhile. I just need to wait for a few minutes more.”
Beyond the parking lot, Iva pulled over and waited for awhile. She wiped the tears off her cheeks and gripped the steering wheel. Anxiously, she glanced at the rear-view mirror to see whether he had followed her. She opened her window, but the darkness in the street made her change her mind. The trees overhead threw long shadows on the hood of her car. She held the key in the ignition and thought whether she should turn the engine off or not.
Then, she lowered her hand brake slowly, shifted her gears, and pulled out into the highway.