The Joan of the past would've been fazed by the idea that she is to be the lead presenter of their latest ad campaign next week. Back then, the thought of being the center of all attention made her feel like a prey, but now as she finishes her third presentation for this month only, she was a little bit queasy but not so much that she might lose her composure.
After pursuing her marketing career, Joan had grown to rid of her insecurities and inhibitions. She's now more comfortable in crowds and knows how to carry herself in social events. It wasn't easy gaining this insouciant confidence but now as she thinks of it, it did help that she and Alex weren't together anymore. As much as she wanted Alex's company it can't be helped that his presence suffocated her and she could say that it was the same for Alex.
They were both so young back then and were very much capable of achieving greater things but they were too caught up in the moment, too inclined to their feelings. If things didn't happen the way they happened, she could imagine them now being in a toxic relationship, each having unfulfilled dreams and blaming each other for what could have been if they weren't reckless enough to make impulsive decisions. It wasn't something she made up in her head just to qualm the depth of her guilt after leaving him. It was a hard pill she had to swallow and though she misses him terribly even after all these years, she wouldn't have sacrificed the opportunity for them to grow as individuals just so they could be together. She reckoned that love, sometimes, just wouldn't suffice.
So when they bumped into each other twice in the past week, she was pretty sure she made the right decision, maybe it wasn't the best decision but she knew in her heart that they needed the space and most importantly, the growth. Seeing him again struck her with emotions too ancient, her heart had almost forgotten what they felt like and yet too familiar at the same time. It's like coming home and seeing everything is still the way they were when you left them but you feel like something has changed still. Maybe it's because they came home as entirely different persons and she wasn't prepared for that. She wasn't prepared to welcome a stranger with an all-too-familiar face.