Where I intended to go…
Last April, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours in the company of someone I met long ago, but had not seen or heard from in years.
We met, this time, on a Sunday afternoon at the mall… and I knew him as soon as I saw him across the expanse of the corridor. Even though he looked absolutely nothing at all like I remembered, everything about him was familiar to me and we instantly fell into step with each other… chatting about whatever popped into our heads, and getting lost at least 50 times, roaming in circles, because neither one of us was paying attention to where we were going.
At one point, I left him alone for a few minutes… handing him my Starbucks frappuccino to hold onto while I was gone. But the line I found myself waiting in away from him was way too long, and I soon realized I was wasting my time standing in it — not just because it wasn’t moving very fast, but because the minutes were ticking quickly past me… and I wanted to be spending those minutes with him instead. After all, I only had a few hours of his time to look forward to that day. I didn’t want to miss out on any part of him.
So I began walking back to where I had left him, wondering what he might be occupying himself with in my absence. As a small crowd of shoppers broke in front of me, I caught a glimpse of him across the way and instantly slowed my paces… taking time to study him from a distance while he was still unaware of my presence. For some reason he looked completely different to me then… not the way he used to… and not the way he had just moments earlier. Something else about him had changed. Or, perhaps, something about my perspective had changed — seeing him from far away instead of at my side.
He had found himself a comfortable waiting place beside a brightly lit wall made of stone and glass, and was standing there casually, calmly, unaffected… looking beyond all of the people passing in front of him.
He had a rather amused look on his face. Pleasant. Happy. Carefree.
I had never seen him that way before.
It was very sweet. He looked very sweet.
And that’s when it occurred to me how strange it was that all of the people moving between us were… passing him by.
In fact, I found that astonishing.
He was my entire reason for being there.
The mere fact that he had flown in that morning to spend the afternoon with me meant the world to me. So… to see him standing there alone, with no one casting him a glance as they crossed his path, was very strange to me.
I couldn’t take my mind off him.
This is the same man who, years ago, stood beside me silently strong, deep, dark and alluring — to whom I was afraid to speak for fear of saying the wrong thing; something that would surely make him walk away and leave me behind for good.
He was the guy in the loose-fitting, cuffed blue jeans, black leather jacket and Doc Marten boots, with the careless coiffed hair and ultra-cool self-confidence; the gentleman who picked me up in front of my hotel one evening and opened his silver car door to let me in; the one who sat beside me quietly listening to loud dance music, only daring to speak to me when I dared myself to whisper in his ear… and then, before the weekend was over, saying something to me that would change the course of my life for the better, forever.
He was my entire reason for being there.
This was him… again. The musical man who, years earlier, I had tried to impress by sending him artful letters and songs and bits and pieces of things I had written. The one who only sometimes responded. The one who once confused me by referring to a disagreement we’d had as “our falling out”. The one I went searching for one night, knowing I probably wouldn’t find him where I was going… but still taking a chance on the mere possibility of seeing him again. The one who watched me walk away from him and didn’t follow after me or pull me back and say, “Stay.” The one I had always wanted to be closer to but could never find a way to reach. The one I was too afraid to reach for.
Here he was… again. The one I left behind years ago out of fear of giving and getting everything I had ever wanted to share with someone. Now, totally approachable. Chatting with our waiter in Italian, knowing I secretly wanted to hear him speak it. Laughing at my dumb jokes, filling my ears with his own. Playing with me like we were at recess, climbing the jungle gym, swinging on the swings, sliding down the slides. Sharing things about himself. Asking me questions about myself. Not looming over me in powerful silence or resisting contact or closing himself off to me. Putting himself within my reach….
And people were passing him by.
They didn’t know him. They didn’t care. He wasn’t part of their world. He was only part of mine.
And it took me less than a thirty-second walk back to him to see it all in him; to inspire me to fall at his feet all over again, overtaken by his willingness for me to know him now… and his desire to know me.
Nothing about him has changed over the years, and yet everything about him is different. Where he had once been closed, he is now open….
I sneaked up on him and pulled him into my company again for the rest of the afternoon, which we filled with more jokes, awkward silences and getting lost. And I treasured every second of it because… I knew that moments like this don’t come along every day. For me. With him.
Fools may pass you by.
But I cannot.
You are far too charming…
and everything about you
makes me incapable of it.