she looked out to the sea of heads and faces bobbing from across the crowded room. she strained her neck trying to find a familiar face, kind eyes, warm smiles. yet all she saw were hurried frowns, tight lips and grim looks. she wanted to turn back and just forget about going. she wanted to believe that this was all a mistake, that she shouldn’t have come at all. she was never good at embarrassment. she always felt out of place in situations that were beyond her capacity to engage. the most number of people she could tolerate was four. and those were her parents, her brother, and her best friend. sometimes not all of them together. she just didn’t want close encounters with anyone who is not within her comfort zone.

that is why she was beginning to panic when she could not find him in the crowd. she was starting to regret why she even agreed to come here, why she allowed herself to say yes to him and meet him in this overwhelming space. she can feel her legs and arms beginning to shiver. she was on the verge of breaking down and running away, when she felt his hand on her shoulder. she turned around and felt more than relieved to see him, eyes and lips smiling at her. she would’ve hugged him right there and then, if she hadn’t stopped herself, thinking that it will just make things awkward.

but he pulled her close to him, taking him into his arms and embraced her. close and warm. she froze for a few seconds, for this was a new feeling for her. she gets hugs from her family, sure, but that comes with familiarity and home. but his embrace, it weirdly felt…safe. she struggled to process why this is so, that’s why she didn’t hug him back immediately. but she felt the honesty in his arms, the warmth of his chest, and the secure hold of his hands around her back. she hesitated at first, but she soon found herself putting her arms around him, leaning more into him, surrendering to his hold. she sighed deeply, and she knows he heard her for he tightened his embrace, and slowly buried his face into her hair, smelling her and planting a soft kiss. she never felt so at peace. and though she can never put words to it, she knew in her heart that this is love.


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