He had stolen into my heart, infiltrated my dreams and taken residence in my fantasies. I watched him constantly, cautiously, carefully trying to discern any subtle detail that could indicate if ever our coming together would be possible.
I tried not to read too much into the way he said my name; with that unique lilt that comes from not having the specific intonations in his own language but with a softness that let me know he suspected there ought to be something there.
His handshake: firm. His eye contact: solid. His welcoming hug: comforting and warm. His manner: adult. His discourse: purposeful.
I dared to hope.
Then, I step out into the evening's warm air, mentally preparing for the journey back home as midnight appeared around the corner to be greeted by his fine form and those of our colleagues, clustered at the entrance; smoking.
My heart sank to many, many depths and I asked myself, how I could have missed it.
I had never seen him do so. Never smelt it on him, never....
I collect my thoughts....he is speaking to me, they are looking at me, waiting for my answer.
I tell them I would appreciate a ride to the closest metro . They are all headed in my opposite direction and the metro is pretty kind of them.
We share a joke and a laugh, me, from a safe distance from their cloud of smoke.
I watch his pretty smile.
I am sad.
I let him go.