A subtle kind of unrequited love

“Good evening, Miss. Please follow me.”

She jumped at the firm, resonant voice, but followed the man just as he instructed. It was funny how she was still a little surprised every time he called her, even though it had become a routine since months ago.

“Hey. How was your day?” She asked as she stepped out of the subway train, sounding tired, yet genuinely concerned.

“Well, just the usual. Work, you know.” Standard answer, as always.

It never crossed his mind that it would be nice to say that seeing her at 6:03 p.m. each weekday was one of the happiest times at his dreadful, monotonous work, which was how he genuinely felt.

“Careful, we’re about to get on the escalator.”

One hand placed on his shoulder, another lifting her guide cane, she moved slowly and made sure she wasn’t too close to him so she wouldn’t trip on his feet.

“How does the world look today, Sir? I felt that something has changed. The chilly wind is replaced by pleasant breeze, delivering the fragrance of blossoms directly to me. Pedestrians seem more lighthearted and lively, revived from the world’s hibernation briskly. It is the start of a lovely season, but I feel blue. Not the bright blue of clear, fresh sky, but the kind that is tinted with matted gray. I think I’m forgetting. Forgetting what the world looks like and forgetting its beautiful, vibrant colors. I’ve been in darkness for so long that I’m not even sure whether the black I’m seeing is the real black. I cannot see anything, including what future holds for me. Tell me, Sir, what can I do?”

Drops of tears rolled down her face from her nonfunctioning eyes, but he didn’t see it. He helped her with the turnstile and they just walked quietly for a while. Just when they got off the second escalator and about to exit the subway station, the man began to speak.

“I can’t say that I know how you feel, because I don’t. But even with eyes that can see all the wonders of this world, I don’t know what the future holds for me. I come to work and go home; eat and sleep, and have a drink from time to time, and that’s my life. I can’t even feel the change of season the way you do. Everything will be ok, because you care. Please just always remember that you are special. Now, go home, get some rest, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She said goodbye and walked down the slope that led to her apartment, smiling too happily. He was just doing his job escorting her from the platform to the exit, but the kind words he said to her made her day, giving her a sense of tiny, but definite bliss. She started to anticipate 6:03 p.m. of the next evening, when he would be there waiting for her. The man stood on top of the slope and watched her silhouette become smaller and darker, and murmured, “Oh, finally.” He took out a cigarette and lit it. He knew how to enjoy life after all.