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Jillian's POV:

"I love you" I said it with sincerity. He is still the same accommodating gentleman he was back in college, where he hid his personal affections towards me just to sustain our friendship. The weird thing this time, as I said those words, I meant every single syllable. I didn't have to say it out of decorum, or because I had to in order to not seem nonchalant, this time it slipped out effortlessly. A part of me loved him, the part of me I assumed was dormant, yet his support was undeniably affectionate.

"What now?" I asked as I looked at his grimed smile. I was hurting him and he still tried to make me feel at ease by hiding it.

"Now I will take care of the bill and we will go for a walk." Was his answer. The same answer he used years ago, when our relationship had its first main stepping stone, ironically this time the same answer marked its tomb stone.

For the first time in four years I was not escorted back to my house, I took a taxi home. The walk we had after our conversation was silent. Not the comfortable silence we were used too, but the eerie silence after learning the death of a loved one. That night we did lose one another. I lost a part of myself along with him. I did not want to prolong our relationship anymore, I did not want to keep dragging Zen into this hole of self-pity which I continuously dug. I had my regrets of course, but they had only risen because of my selfishness; to keep him. We changed, well him for the better. We drifted apart, we were two islands with oceans apart. I can't rely on him for joy, I would be sentencing him to a lifetime of unhappiness. Always depending on him to provide happiness when I am not very convinced it exists, he cannot be happy enough for the both of us.

I never know if I will ever be with him again even after resolving myself, despite that, I had to be fair to him and let him go, I can no longer burden people I cared about with the person I have become.

I entered my room, changed into my nightwear, and sat at my desk. I had placed the wooden box earlier after holding on to it for an entire evening. I opened it again, and emptied its contents. I shuffled through the clippings and reread the bucket list, I was restless so I had to preoccupy myself with something. As adolescents we tend to expand our imagination, neglecting financial means and the improbability of accomplishing any of our plans, and just dream. A clipping managed to slip through my fingers and on to the floor. It was not a clipping, it was a photograph. I held it closer to the lamp, and saw the people in that photograph. It was a younger me and my childhood friend, Cecilia. We were inseparable from kindergarten all the way till high school, then they both presumed different majors, get-togethers became less, phone calls even lesser, and we seem to have lost touch. How could two people be so close one decade and spend the other decade not checking up on each other?

I guess distance mattered, she was in Moscow pursuing a career in law. She always had that confident cement attitude and always spoke affirmatively, only seemed fitting to enter a profession where those qualities are much regarded. I stared at the picture with a sweet feeling of nostalgia, I had a full childhood. I was blessed with the opportunity few have had the privilege of having. Yet why is the feeling of ungratefulness dominating my soul? Why now?

I shook my head, removing the remaining questions related to the topic, turned off the lamp, and climbed into bed. After hours of staring at my ceiling aimlessly till I realized dawn had lit up my room.

"YOU DID WHAT?!" my mother exclaimed when I told her about what Zen and I decided on.

"Mother we are no longer capable of prolonging this relationship. It's fruitless."

"Who said any relationship had to have fruit?! I told you be happy, not silly and impulsive, I thought you would go to those places and do those things with Zen, not leave Zen!"

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