It wasn’t a first love, but it was a love a first sight. You lit up that evening with those bright eyes shimmering, as you lifted the glass of sparkling liquid reflecting this life. I noticed it all at once, once and for all, like a Monet on the concrete Palace’s Wall. Everything about you triggered feelings unknown in me up to that particular point. That deep honest laugh, genuine, an organic expression that revealed enough, for any sane man to want a little, or a lot more. Those freckles painting your cheekbones and slim little nose, how could anyone be self-conscience of the remarkable beauty your features comprised? That motion you did with your fingers. Hoping to hide your assumed vulnerabilities? It left me afraid to ask, but curious to know: How could any creature so beautiful not look in a mirror and smile? How could you see anything but the perfection of -if there is one- a God’s master work?
But that’s the paradox of humanity, right? Our inability to accept simple truths. It was those first few moments, consuming your essence, that derailed any further notions or plans I had made. A thought crossed my mind -a thunderous whisper- at some point in those first few minutes: “If this perfect creature were to ever fall for an ugly fool like me, I’d never ever want for love, or beauty again.” It was an open question that night, for her open nature hid a cunning feature tucked within all beautiful human beings: The art of the non-tell. I was smitten, I was enchanted, I was certain to act like a damn fool. Like the child at heart that I was, so foolish and immature.
It was by the slightest chance we ever even met that night, 20 years ago today. My work was beyond the city, I was there by strange coincidence or random chance. After an hour at that bar, across from you patiently, a friend suggested a bonfire to celebrate, what else, but the Hunter’s Moon? It was a short drive to his cabin. Did she come too? With the question still out there, she stepped off the porch like a goddess and took my hand. Only a few times in an entire life can the touch of another’s simple affection release so much power. Her hand in mine struck like a lightening bolt, pleasurable chemical intercourse striking my open mind. She liked me, I knew that much was true.
We talked for hours that night as the fire grew higher, then slowly died. We spoke of the universe and music, mathematics and Miller, family and dreams until the exact moment I had to go. This was before Facebook and personal cell phones to connect us all without a pause. We made a plan though, and I promised to keep it. The plans became action, I took her rock climbing and she escorted me to a foreign film. Each time I saw her, my heart skipped in a chill I can only describe as pleasure that’ll one day become pain. And I remember so well that evening, when you leaned in to kiss me, saying, “we needed to get that out-of-the-way.” Indeed.
It’s been 20 years since that autumn of entrancement and I haven’t seen you in at least 10. But tonight, my dear, there you were right in front of me, smiling, talking into your cell phone. You looked so great, like the years haven’t mattered and my brain skipped a million beats, as I walked past and behind you, craving that touch, you couldn’t have noticed me. So I disappeared once again.
It may sound stupid, but you smelled the same. You still had that sugar southern drawl I made fun of, your old voicemail, memories so small. And all of those memories are popping in my brain. I’m writing it all down as best as I can, knowing you’ll never read this, but wishing you could. I wanted to grab you and take you straight to a mirror. But I’m not that strong.
You were perfect this evening like before. The incomplete theory of romance, from the mind of that 20 something fool, is all the thought really was, even if tonight would’ve been so different?.That love in reverse, isn’t it a mystery, eternal and always churning within a ring of flames. What we see in the mirror reveals all of our mistakes. What we see is so different from what a lover can taste.
I miss you, I saw you; somehow, we’re still both the same? I pretend not to see, and you….