A new insert for Fragments of Fiction;
“Ran into you yesterday
Memories rushed through my brain
it started to hit me
now you’re not with me
I realized I made a mistake
I thought I needed some space
But I just let love go to waste
This Time– John Legend
It sounds like a cheap rip off of a Beatles song but when I saw you standing there my heart stopped beating for a moment. You took my breath away and for a moment I didn’t know where I was or why I was there. And then just like in the movies there was a loud whoosh and suddenly time started moving and the loud noise that I found so irritating turned into a woman saying, “excuse me.”
I moved out of the way and wondered what to do. You were standing there in a red dress, completely unaware that I was in the store. I took two steps backwards and one to the side. I was so stunned to see you there that I needed a moment to compose myself. Thirty seconds wasn’t enough time to figure out whether I should slip away unseen or come say hello.
Don’t think you ever realized how much I enjoyed just watching you. In the old days I would watch you brush your hair or read the paper. You always had this natural grace and beauty that was and is refreshing. No pancake makeup. I remember how sometimes you’d catch me looking at you and then say, “what.” I’d tell you that I liked looking at you and sometimes you’d blush.
It used to make me laugh, but sweetly. Sometimes when we would kiss I’d keep my eyes open intentionally knowing full well that you’d feel me staring and open yours. But every now and then you’d fool me and I’d find dark eyes staring back at me with the same intensity as my own.
That intensity, it is part and parcel of us now, then and forever. Kind of silly to say now because there is no us anymore, at least not now. Or so I tell myself. It is what I have to say because my heart and my head are at war. I really don’t know which one to trust or listen to. Can’t help but believe that this is a break, just time apart.
But maybe I am wrong. Maybe I was a fool or am or still are. I just don’t know. All I can say is that everything about you feels unexpected and un-something or other. It is like one day life was one way and then the next it was different. You were a part of it and things were better than they had ever been. I had found the great love of my life, the woman I called my girl and so much more. You helped me realize and understand things about myself and relationships that I had never known.
And then when you left it was complete carnage, a storm that came through and just wrecked my sense of perspective and understanding- destroyed my equilibrium. I kid around about being a hardass and a tough guy, butÂ in some respects it is true. I am freaking tough in every way and have been for years. It is just been a part of me for so long that I don’t know how to reconcile having that hard shell torn off and no one there.
“It’s so crystal clear now
that I need your here now
I gotta get you back today”
For a while I tried to get you back. I did what I could to appeal to you in every way that I could think of, but it didn’t work. I told myself that you wouldn’t really go away, said that it couldn’t be. We both agreed that the world had to have a minimum of 10,000 people that we could fall in love with. It was logical, rational, made sense, but when have logic or sense had anything to do with love.
So I stand there in the store staring at you, thinking about all these things and remembering it all. A thousand thoughts swirling through my head I can’t help but get frustrated. Is your appearance simply coincidence or is the universe sending me a message. If it is coincidence I don’t have to do anything, I can just stand here and stare. But what if it is a sign, what if this is the universe saying, “go talk to her.” What happens if I don’t, am I blowing it again.
Coincidence doesn’t mean that I can’t talk to you or that it can’t lead down the path I so dearly hope it will, but it might not. If I don’t talk to you I can’t be disappointed if you don’t want to talk or the conversation doesn’t go well.
But that doesn’t sit so well with me either. I am not the guy who hides from life. That fire in my belly burns brightly because I go the distance, I take the chance that dancing in the fire might burn me. But oh lord that ring of fire we kid around about burns so fiercely.
“Last time I wasn’t sure
This time I will give you more
I’m more mature
I’ll show you
Last time I didn’t know
I messed up and let you go
I need you
don’t say no.
Lying alone in this room
All that is missing is you
pick up the phone
Won’t you come home?”
That is what I want, for your to come home. That is what I want, to make a life with you and to fulfill the potential that lies there waiting for us to take it. And then you turn and look in my direction and my heart stops again. I almost fall down trying to hide from you. I am not ready, can’t talk to you- not yet. I need another moment. I need to figure out what to say.
Got to have a silly story that I can tell, try to make you laugh. Got to have something innocuous that doesn’t make me sound like an idiot but gives me room to make a dignified exist if necessary. I can see you staring in my direction. I know that look, you aren’t sure if you saw me, but you suspect that you might have. At least that is how I am interpreting it. For all I know you might be wondering if your favorite ice cream is located over here.
And wouldn’t that be fitting. Me standing here like some bumbling fool wondering if you have seen me while you are trying to figure out if this is the place to get some Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough or whatever flavor it is that you’d like.
See if life were like the movies you’d walk over here and I would be waiting with a box of Godiva chocolates and a dozen red roses. Do they sell either one of those in the frozen foods section? I don’t think so.
My mind is racing a mile a minute so I take a deep breath and close my eyes. I need something to calm me down, center me. I want to open my eyes and be cool like Rick in Casablanca but am afraid that what will come out will be a cross between Rocky and Porky Pig.
The thought makes me giggle, “Eye of the Tiger” baby, that is what I need. For a moment I am lost, I can hear the song and I visualize myself in the gym punching a heavy bag. Can’t help myself, I am the idiot shadowboxing with the Tombstone Frozen Pizza.
Now I can hear the theme to Rocky, Gonna Fly Now. I am running through the streets of Philadelphia, kids trailing after me, I am running up the stairs straight to the top- no stopping me. In a moment I’ll be at the top, jumping up and down I’ll throw my arms up in an exultation of victory.
Except when I open my eyes you’ll be gone. My Adrian isn’t running to the ring to congratulate the champ. There is no Paulie to exchange witty banter with and later when I get home there is no Mickey in my corner to tell me to keep fighting.
It is just me and my memories because for now I have to live my life alone and apart. Later I’ll sit on the couch and admit that my heart is still broken and wonder how long before it heals this time. Because the one really valuable thing about life experience is that I know it will heal and that the sun is going to shine again.
And while I sit there I decide that it is good that we didn’t speak. I have some plans of my own that I am working on. Got some things that I have to do, goals to be accomplished. I am doing them for you, but if God smiles upon us and we find our way back to each other it will be good for both of us. And if not it is good for me so it is a win-win.
Because though I still love and miss you I am living my life. It would be better if you were in it, but for now you aren’t so I’ll chalk this up as just time to get new stories to tell you. And I’ll make a mental note to ask you to wear that red dress for me because you looked amazing in it.
Anyway, after that episode in the store I loaded up the iPod with Rocky and other workout music. Might as well make use of the extra time and energy. Not going to say goodbye because I don’t say it so I’ll leave you with the very hokey, “Gonna Fly Now.”