"THERE IS NO GREATER AGONY THAN BEARING AN UNTOLD STORY INSIDE YOU."
- Maya Angelou
Emily stepped into the elevator, completely transfixed by her talking points for that morning’s meeting. She had no clue about the trick the universe was going to play on her.
As the doors opened, she stepped out confidently, before coming to an abrupt halt. There, just metres in front of her, stood Ryan Brown. It had been twenty-six years since she had last seen her high-school crush. And there he was, hurtling a tsunami of feelings and emotions over her.
Before anyone could notice, she darted into the safety of her cubicle. All thoughts of the meeting and work disappeared.
She sat, staring blankly at the screen in front of her. Her mind was racing with memories – all those glorious days and moment when Ryan Brown was a ray of sunshine in her life.
School camp, carnivals, talent shows, drama club…all her favourite moments flashed through her mind. Back then she had been sure Ryan was the guy for her. There had been no room for anyone else.
And when she finally got up the courage to tell him how she felt, life threw her a devastating blow. Someone else beat her to it. Emily could still picture that day and feel the same heartache. Seeing another girl kissing Ryan had wholly taken the wind out of her sails.
She was glad that her father had changed jobs soon after, and the whole family moved to New York. Still there today, Emily was now married with a son and daughter of her own. She was happy in her little world.
“What are you doing? Everyone’s waiting for you,” called her boss, gruffly, breaking her memory bubble.
“Coming,” she responded, quickly picking up her notes and heading for the conference room.
The rest of the day, Emily kept to her cubicle, afraid to venture out in case she ran into you-know-who.
Finally, as the workday came to an end, she hopped into the elevator.
“Hold the lift,” came a familiar voice. Emily held the door as Ryan bounced in, followed by one of the company’s directors. They thanked her but she only half smiled in return, keeping her head down.
“Emily Wilson, how are you today?” asked the director, “Good work on the annual report by the way.”
“Thank you,” she replied quietly.
“Emily Wilson?” asked Ryan, keenly, “Emily Wilson from Harker High School in San Jose? I’m Ryan Brown. Do you remember me?”
“No, sorry, not me,” mumbled Emily, almost in a whisper.
“Oh, sorry,” apologised Ryan, “I thought you were someone I knew from school.”
That was the last time Emily ever saw Ryan. She wasn’t sure why she had lied. Maybe she didn’t want to be consumed by those old feelings. Perhaps she just wanted to protect her current life.
Whatever the reason, she would never stop wondering… what if she had opened up to him, all those years ago?