The first time I saw him, he was walking along a grey university hallway. He was carrying a small suitcase and a guitar. He had curly hair and absurdly big, blue eyes. His aura was dark, wild, erotic and destructive. I dropped all the books I was holding.
The second time I saw him, he was in the middle of a dark basement filled with yellowish light. He was singing Spanish songs, which, at that time, I didn’t understand at all. His expression seemed slightly drunk, pretty much confused and totally unsure of where to go next. All I wanted to do was hold him in my arms. I didn’t.
We looked at each other in this tiny space filled with random human beings. He smiled. This is how it always begins: you meet someone who suddenly smiles at you and you recognize them. You recognize them among hundreds of people and you smile back. This is how it begins. But when — how — does it end?
If you stopped me on the street on one of those sunny days and asked me “And for you, what is love?”, I would certainly have answered that love is exactly that; to be in a room filled with people, look at each other and just know.
We shared two years, one month and six days of our lives. Two years might seem really insignificant in the course of existence, of a lifetime, like a short chapter in a book or a shooting star in a dark sky, hoping for the furious kiss of eternity. It’s like water that we try to keep between our hands. No matter how closely we pull our fingers together, sooner or later it finds a way to escape; to go back to the earth, to where it comes from.
Back then I was a comet. I didn’t even notice that I was not flying.
Yesterday, I met him again. It was an early Monday morning and I was walking with my usual decisive, fast step toward my favorite coffee shop. I did not suspect any kind of disaster coming, talking to myself and discreetly gesticulating along the way. The divine smell of a fresh-brewed coffee and buttered toast found me and I followed it blindly. I pushed the door with as much strength as hope, and there he was, standing right in front of me. He still had curly hair and absurdly big, blue eyes. It felt exactly as if a piano had fallen down on my head from the fourteenth floor.
A second passed and my natural survival instinct was clearly pointing out only one possible option: run away immediately. I felt the impulse to move my legs but as an adult, the strong and independent woman I usually am, I realised that it is too late for this kind of exit. With years of practical experience as a smoke bomb exit expert, I can recognise when there is not enough smoke. Actually, there was almost none, apart from the tiny cloud of steam coming from the coffee machine and a little bit more from the milk foamer. So I did not move at all. I did not think. Carefully, I stopped the Time for the longest period I could. Something around eight seconds.
We are still in front of each other. You, waiting for your coffee. Me, paralyzed. You, who always has words in abundance. Me, who never says enough. You, an all-inclusive round-way trip. Me, just a one-way ticket without looking back. You, and the wonderful world of the things you say. Me, and the obsession of paying attention to the things you actually do. You, who always finds what he looks for. Me, who used to let myself be found. You, who does not know. Me, who does know indeed. You.
I wanted to tell him so many things. So many things live inside of me. But I would need to write them down, as I usually do when I want to communicate with him successfully. Right now I cannot write anything down, I cannot pull out a pen and paper in the middle of a crowded coffee shop, not even being me. That’s why I decide to do the one thing that I know how to do best. I disappear. I try to tell him with my last look I am sorry, it’s not your fault, it’s me, not you, I cannot stay, I don’t want to, I wish you a splendid Monday, dear.
I concentrate all my attention on the hope to find a coffee as big as those in some other place. And may it have a good Wi-Fi as well.
I probably still love him. I think about Murakami when I say that. I think about the story of a one hundred percent perfect girl who had found a one hundred percent perfect boy. And how they never saw each other again. I think about Patti Smith when she says that not all dreams need to be realized. I think of Anna Karenina when she hugged Vronski for the first time. I think of Frida when they broke her legs but the broken heart was the only thing that cut her wings off.
I probably still do love him because it’s this old-school, vintage kind of love. One of those that make you love with your whole soul, with terrifying security of your choices, and a supreme superpower filling you from inside, from the top of your head till the end of your toes. The kind of love that moves the sun, shifts the stars, and allows absolutely no space for all the what-ifs and is-it-really-worth-doing.
When you actually believe in the forever ones.
Anyhow, I make a gracious half-spin and run out of the burning building. I focus all my attention on remembering that there are things that simply cannot be. Each and every adult, strong, and independent woman knows perfectly that there are certain things that simply cannot be. Currently, he proudly occupies the first place on my list. The one that I had written and hidden under the bed, just in case I may forget one day.
My mother says that time heals everything. I wish I knew who invents those phrases that everyone says but nobody wants to hear. Brevity is the soul of wit. Is this serious?
I would also like to tell him that lately, I don’t even manage to prepare proper scrambled eggs. The kind of scrambled eggs that he would swear he’d die for during the time when we shared fast breakfasts after sharing slow nights, when we wished each other every good morning and hid secret messages in the backpacks and closets. What I know for sure is that good scrambled eggs require necessarily to have a good timing and my timing seems to be always wrong.
I ask him in my thoughts (in the case of the vintage love you can communicate with your thoughts, no need to actually talk) if he can please hide himself and his beautiful hands full of I wish somewhere where I cannot see them. I have almost managed to convince my cat that it was all just a dream. A double espresso, please. And two spoons of extra sugar. We are strong, but not that much.