I first saw her at the university rooftop, smoking a cigarette.
“Can I get a light?” I asked her, since I was an idiotic smoker who forgot to bring a lighter.
“Sure,” she said. Tossed me her lighter. I lit my cigarette.
“Thanks,” I mumbled as I gave it back. She just nodded.
I did my business quickly, since there were tons of projects waiting for me at the time.
But I couldn’t get her face out of my mind.
She was smoking again when I saw her next.
I went to the rooftop again to smoke, but that time I have a lighter with me.
She saw me get in. She just nodded at me then turned back to looking at the expanse of the city.
I took my time, savoring every drag. I didn’t have anything urgent to do then. And I wanted to see her face more. I wanted to figure out what it is about her that drew me in.
That she’s pretty is given. Button nose, pouty lips, big eyes. Complete with the image of her hair gently swayed by the wind, she looked like someone out of an ad.
When I finished my cigarette, she was still there. Looking at nothing–everything. I had nothing else to do, so I left.
One thing I wished I saw? Her smile.
“Hey, would you mind if I play some music?”
“No, I wouldn’t.”
That’s where it all started. We sat down on the floor, side by side, smoking cigarettes, listening to music.
The songs on her playlist were easy to listen to. Chill beats, relatable lyrics–when I can understand it, because most of the time it’s in another language. Something about slowing down time, remembering moments, thinking about someone late at night, and–the funniest one–cigarettes being used as a metaphor for love.
Her playlist looped back to the first song. It was almost dusk when I forced myself to get up and leave.
“Thanks,” she said with a small smile on face.
I was right. Her face looks more beautiful when she smiles.
“Do you think that we really have a purpose in this world?” she asks me one time. That time we’re looking at the cityscape and just shared a stick.
Up until that point, we never talked about anything except to ask for a light or if we wanted to play some music.
I didn’t know how to answer her. But it looked like she didn’t need any, because she continued talking.
“I mean, okay, we’re here. For what? Do we have a grand purpose? Or we’re just really organisms that just BAM! we’re here and we’re going to make this planet our bitch.
“If it’s just like that, why do we even try? Why do we even make an effort to make something for ourselves? Connect to other people? Dream? If all of this,” she gestured to the blinking lights before she continued, “will just be for nothing after we die, why are we even here?”
Right then she looked at me, clearly expecting an answer.
“For me, we make our own reasons for being here. We’re born and we’re stuck here until we die. So while that’s not happened yet, we have to make our own reason to exist. To be here. Every person’s reason may be different, but that’s okay,” I said with a shrug.
I didn’t expect her to hold my hand and put her head on my shoulder.
The routine is set after that. We smoked, we listened to music, we talked about deep shit. She held my hand sometimes. And then I realized that I never asked her name.
So I asked.
Then we went back to talking.
In hindsight, I realized that she didn’t even ask for my name. Well, that should’ve been a hint. But my heart wasn’t the best decision maker then.
I saw her for the last time. We’re not on the rooftop but in front of the school. Now that I’ve seen her in another place than the rooftop and that I know her, it made sense to approach her.
“Hey,” I said once I reached her.
“Hey,” she said back.
I thought about asking her out to coffee but seeing an arm wrap around her shoulders stopped me.
A guy looked at me, then looked at her and asked:
“Babe, you know each other?”
She didn’t spare me a glance as she shook her head. “Oh, no. We just met.”
As they went on their way, the guy nodded at me. She looked back and stared at me. I didn’t give myself time to figure out what that look meant.
Even after all those talks, I realized that I knew nothing about her. At all.
I didn’t go to the rooftop again after that.