‘Why today?’ he says. I’m not sure what he’s referring to or was he even saying it to me. ‘I’m sorry?’ I say. ‘Why did you choose today? There were many weekends. Many other holidays, why did you choose today to go to the zoo, to the museum…’ he leaves it hanging, looking at me hopeful for a truthful answer. I look away.
‘I told you. Because I just realized recently that things will not be always there, they’d be gone before you know it.’
I begin looking at the pictures Gregory took a while ago. There’s a picture where a kid eats sand. And then another picture where a mother’s face was somehow distorted when she sees her kid eating sand. And there’s another where a kid with pigtails flying all over when she goes down the slide. These are good shots for a five or six year old to take. Maybe Gregory could be a photographer someday.
‘Things…and people?’ Seb says in a low voice, still looking at me, still hoping for a truthful answer, still expecting me to tell him the truth. I look at him sharply. And then my glare slowly diminishes to a confused look. Trying to keep it cool. I look down again. To the pictures.
And then I stop at one picture that almost knocks my breath out of me. It’s almost identical to the one painting we saw earlier at the museum. It’s me and Seb on this bench, looking at each other with meaningful stares. And if I don’t know us, I would think that this girl and boy in the picture are deeply in love. But we’re not. Of course we’re not.
‘Who was it?’ he says. I don’t look at him. I still look at the picture. I think about the change that happened with Gregory’s parents after a similar picture had been taken. I wonder if a change would also happen to us. To me and Seb. Us. As if we’ve known each other since childhood. As if we’ve been in love for years. But we’re not. But in love or not, lovers or friends, I know inside me that after this, there’d be changes. I’m not sure if it will be a good a bad change. But everything will change.
‘Who was it that you thought would still be here for a long time but you realized wasn’t staying for long?’ His tone isn’t curious at all. It’s now obvious that he’s been thinking. I look at him. It’s as if he knows it already. He stares at me like there’s begging in his eyes, begging me that what he’s thinking is wrong, that he couldn’t be right. I don’t know, maybe he is right or maybe he’s wrong. Either way, I have to tell him. To confirm is answer or to correct it. This is the first time we actually see each other. We look at each other as if it’s our last seeing each other’s faces. As if this will be goodbye for two friends who spend the day together and have to separate at the end of it.
‘Who?’ he asks again.
I don’t take my eyes off him. I tell him the truth now.