Creative Exposition

End Game

Earth to Mandy, Earth to Mandy.”

The sudden voice snapped her out of her wandering mind.

“Uhm, sorry?” as she set her gaze back on the bowl of bibimbap, her cheeks flushing red. He chuckled at her reaction. It was so rare to see her taken off guard.

Tough night, huh?

Taxing to say the very least. Less than 9 hours of sleep in the past 36 hours mess up your brain, trust me.”

She couldn’t exactly recall what he was lamenting about before her brain decided to take a detour of its own. All she could vaguely remember was a mention of a concert of some sort in Asia.

So, what about the concert?” she asked casually, trying to redirect his attention back to their conversation before he got the chance to ask what she was thinking a few moments back.

Ah, yes, the concert. We were all very excited and we wanted…. you know, he is always so eager…. invite us…… the plan was to…..but………

She set her spoon aside and let her solemn gaze roved over his face. She has decided to be the listener today for she has missed him fervently. They couldn’t spend much time together due to how short-noticed her relocation was and it had been two years since she last saw him in person.

He still donned the same pair of black spectacles and he has kept his old plain ear stud. He changed his hairstyle though. Instead of the crewcut he opted for during those college days, he was sporting a side-swept fringe hairstyle which framed his diamond-shaped face nicely. His skin was a few shades darker, not surprising given how much time he spent trekking the mountains. He has lost some weight but that just accentuated his chiselled jaw even more. And oh his smile. Ever so comforting, ever so inviting. The way the corner of his lips slowly curled upwards, exposing his perfectly aligned pearly whites. The way his eyes and his dimple crinkled. His smile is as warm as the ray of sunshine and it was this very smile that she fell in love with many years ago.

I wanna be your end game
I wanna be your first string
I wanna be your A-team
I wanna be your end game, end game

End game by Taylor Swift – she immediately recognized the tune that was playing in the background and involuntarily sighed. That caught his attention and he stopped mid-sentence.

Oh my, I am sorry I got carried away. I must have bored you-

She shook her head violently to voice her disagreement but it was too late. The table has turned.

Enough about me. Tell me, how is Asia? Anything exciting? Have you met your soulmate?” his eyes twinkled with curiosity.

Of course, it’s her love life that he was most interested in, she should have known better. She chuckled and responded with a short “Nah“.

He threw his head back laughing. “No way. Miss hopeless romantic couldn’t find any prince charming in the last two years? Impossible. Oh come on, spill the bean.

She could only stare at the gentleman across the table lovingly. Little did he know.

End game was released a few weeks back but it has become the most played song on her music library – not only because of its catchy melody but more so on how accurate the lyrics are in describing the emotional conundrum she was in. She wanted him to be her end game but those were also the words that would never leave the tip of her tongue. She couldn’t risk it all – to gamble away their friendship for something that may end up in complete disaster? That would have been reckless. She didn’t sigh because he bore her. She sighed because what an incredulously impeccable timing for the song to start playing, as if the universe was dead set on mocking her.

I don’t want to touch you, I don’t wanna be
Just another ex-love you don’t wanna see
I don’t wanna miss you
Like the other girls do
I don’t wanna hurt you, I just wanna be
Drinking on a beach with you all over me
I know what they all say
But I ain’t try to play

People often romanticize the idea about the right person coming at the right time and place but when it came to the two of them, it felt like the right person, wrong time and place. 

Distance, time difference, career choices, life priorities – nothing was in favour of them. Not to mention the figure of the past, whose shadow lingered close by. She knew this was a losing battle so she decided to surrender early – no matter how much her heart broke over that decision.

“People can change over time – maybe I am no longer that hopeless romantic you used to know,” she countered back “plus advancing my career is my number one priority now, prince charming will have to wait.


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