The Beginning
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The Raven

The Encounter

"Her shoulder was jutting into me in such a manner so as to allow the rumbling train to draw a haphazard pattern of dull ache throughout my upper back. Jutting is an interesting word - one that conjures images of tree branches growing into unwelcome areas. This particular jutting was not unwelcome, however, as it was accompanied by a flowery-sweet scent.

‘Should I look?’ I mused. ‘Would it be wise for me to attempt to see the woman attached to that shoulder?’ It would seem normal to look back after such a crowded ride. With so many eyes in so many different directions, who would notice a glance back? Everyone was busy and moving with purpose to their respective destinations. I calculated that a quick glance was in order, and would not elicit a response from anyone.

When the coach halted, I made the decision to do it – to look squarely at her. Someone tall and thin owned that sharp shoulder and I found myself longing to see. The doors opened and I began to move out, freeing my back from that compelling and sharpened hook. It was both a gain and loss, as I instantly found myself wanting to be back against her. As I stepped out of the coach, I began to hear the distinct double-click of tall-heeled shoes. I then realized that if I was to let her pass by me, my gaze would go unnoticed. In the downtown midday frenzy, a thousand glances can be exchanged and quickly forgotten. Mine would be no different. Just a pause and she would glide by oblivious to my intentions. I made it a point to separate myself from the exiting column, veered right, and slowed. All the while I attempted to fumble with my belongings. She, in turn, stayed her brisk pace and overtook my position directly. I then followed, and at once realized that was a wonderful mistake, and created a moment which would burn itself into my mind for all time.

I stayed at a distance from her and continued for several minutes, passing my destination by many blocks. She seemed to be enjoying a midday walk with no particular stop in mind. My head had become a flurry of activity. The sight of her awakened some latent adolescent butterflies of nervous anticipation out of their long slumber. I had not felt such a magical distraction for decades.

white rose

She wore white - all white and just white. Skirt, top, shoes, bow and trousseau. White satin, white silk and white leather flowed around her like a gentle stream, creating an incredible contrast to her dark hair and olive skin. The brightness she created stood in deep defiance to the muted colors of the dull city blocks. She glided and glowed, sending my mind into oblivion and forcing my eyes from me with nary a thought of their return. In fact, I was happy to let them go. She had taken my sight and dissolved it into her astounding form. ‘Goodbye, my beloved vision, and thank you.’

Just walking and marveling at the incredible flowing construct before me, I had lost all direction and purpose. I made no attempt to pull myself from the beautifully vignetted and trancelike vision just ahead. Block after block went by, and the further I followed, the more willing I became to continue on as such without end. To spend my remaining life mesmerized and blissful seemed an end unto itself, and that would have been just fine. No work life, home life, travel – nothing, save for that sculpture gliding endlessly and mysteriously along - to do nothing else but trail behind her forever. Just her.

After falling deeply into that new and enthralling thought process and having immersed me in the moment, she stopped. My loving state of mind broke equally as quickly, and I almost panicked realizing we were now alone on the otherwise deserted sidewalk not twenty feet apart. My only option was to continue past her and attempt to appear as just another pedestrian going about my daily activities.

As I passed, I was again taken by her scent – one that I found myself longing to bathe within. The urge to turn and face her was overwhelming and I knew all too well that I may never see this woman again. What a frightening thought! So quickly that thought had overtaken my mind, but equally frightening was the possibility of drawing her attention in the wrong direction. How could she know of my thoughts? It mattered not. The possibility of not seeing what I knew to be a perfect face was too much to process. The risk was simultaneously everything and nothing. I had to turn back and look. After all of that time and distance and dreaming, to continue on and miss the opportunity would be a haunting state of mind.

Before the fear of drawing her attention had the chance to multiply itself and paralyze me, I stopped, spun on my heel, and at last gazed longingly into her green eyes."


Maltese Cross