Across from me on the train sat a large man of Greek descent or so at least my guess, his middle-age bordering the old, his eyes warm and friendly. His arm full of roses, their colour pink and so intense they rivaled the beauty of a sunrise half-hidden in a cloud-cluttered sky. Next to him a woman, her skin mocha smooth, her red-rimed glasses giving her an air of quirky elegance. And as we exchanged a smile over flowers displayed to us in such magnificence, her eyes lit up infecting mine. It was a smile I carried with me on my way to work as I poked along, past worker bees and office ants and parents in a rush tugging at their children’s nerves, always ready to be the first ones at their daily crosswalk, bakery or coffee shop. I shrugged them off, their rage mild today, unfeasible somehow with the sun still lurking behind some sleepy clouds. So when I reached my morning hangout, my mood was balanced, frolic even – minus the fatigue I cannot shake without my first hot chocolate of the day. So I placed my order and my favorite waiter met my smile, then brightened it by knowing exactly what I wanted. “Almond milk, an espresso and a croissant,” he beamed, “Early morning order. Busy day.” I nodded. “And with a start like today, I don’t mind one bit.”
Hope is a glass half full wishing for a refill while being trapped in an entity that’s easily broken, its shattered remnants piercing your heart with fragments of dreams long crushed, scarring your soul if you don’t find the essence of your one true love.
Two days of summer this year. August 30 and finally a clear blue, no clouds anywhere to be seen except those plane-painted lines up high in the azure. To say this year so far has left me unscarred, my soul untainted, my heart intact would be a lie, but through my tears I’m finally able to embrace my blessings. No need to count them really because for every blow I took, a gift was there to help me breathe, so they were plenty. I just had to see them through the mist of heartache, rage and longing. My favorite season blown away by wind, the heat I need to make it through a long gray winter washed away by storms and heavy rains – the weather matching my mood so painfully, my life, my situation. Or was my mood inflicted on me by a sun just smiling in absentia, depriving me of energy and warmth? On the days that counted she was always there, however, shining through a cloud-cluttered sky. And although my skin’s still pale, my heart still bleeding from every dream that burst this year making my smile look crushed, these two days of summer have lifted my spirits and patched me up. With autumn fast approaching, I hope this vigor, verve and and vim will last.
I hear a seagull laughing in the sky as it passes by my window and instinctively I turn around to share my amazement with you, but you’re not there of course. I often feel your presence like this, see things I’d love to show you, details I know you would appreciate. But then I remember, you are not part of my life the way I wish you were and yet you’re always there. It’s that kind of madness that drives me out of my mind, an ambiguity laced with longing, palsy and desire. I close my eyes just for a moment, my heart taking me back to us first sharing an honest smile, a joke, a laugh. It sent a jolt through my body then, made me quake. I was so unprepared for how you made me feel, so at ease and yet so tense, reminding me of everything I wanted and everything I missed. It was then that I realized what an emotional wreck I had been and without knowing it, you told me why and showed me a way to be true to myself again.
Now this is new to me: I’m numb. I hear your voice and wish to cry but I have no tears left, nor do I feel anything else. No joy, no pain, no indifference – nothing. It is as if my feelings have dried out, my heart, although my soul is still aching for you as it hears the fraction in your voice, that little crack as it breaks away while you’re trying to convince me of your well-being.
I do not like not feeling, not being but a shell of myself, stripped of my emotions. Is this a side effect of loving you so much without the rewards of having your love in return? Has my heart decided to take a vacation now from being bruised and has forgotten how much you also lift me up by just being you, by being there – if only in the distance – that your mere existence means the world to me and lets me breathe?
I never expected to miss shedding tears over you, to crave the impact of your soul revealed to me like no one else before, pulling me down on the floor, crippling me. But never have my tears left me as jaded and empty as not feeling anything, not even my heart beat in my own chest. And I wonder how long this will last, because I rather break down every night and long for you waking up than being stripped bare and soulless like this. Without emotions I simply do not now how to exist.
There they are again, my tears, because what you say resonates so much, touches my heart in a way you’ll never know but probably understand without me saying anything. I just don’t have the words to express myself to you, admits the writer, the one whose love flows right into another poem to hold onto them, my feelings for you out of control. Before you I never believed in that bond I feel whenever you send a picture or a line. But your timing is so impeccable, throws me off balance for you always seem to know when to say what I need to hear or when something preoccupies my mind.
“Is that a hickey you are covering or why are you wearing a scarf,” she asks, unaware of the wound she rips open by asking her question, the inner turmoil I’ve been trying so hard to keep to myself.
“Of course,” I say with a forced little smile, images of my dreams still vivid to me as her curiosity darkens my mind, leaving yet another scar from missing you so badly day and night.
And there she stood
wearing a smile,
with just one look.
“Come again,” he says, his eyes unfocused like his mind.
“Do you want Karen for the early shift or Thomas,” I fight hard not to sound annoyed for this is the third time I ask.
“What day are we talking about again?”
I breathe in deeply, faking a smile. “Monday,” I reply in a voice that surprises me myself. How on earth did I just manage to stay so friendly?
“Ah yes,” he shrugs. “I don’t know. Who else do we have?”
“Two shifts, two colleagues available,” I moan. Now there it is, my impatience in full bloom and I know my Medici glare is not far away.
“Right,” he agrees, his eyes squinted as if he’s trying hard to focus. Concentration it couldn’t be, because after 90 minutes into our meeting I know for certain he has none whatsoever, especially not today.
Monday morning, 6am. Barely two hours of sleep and Megan didn’t win. Her award that is, the heart of her fans she did. But then, she had those sacked before, no ceremony needed, no nomination or award. Just her work and everyone is happy, including me as I sleep-walk into the bathroom, a quick shower to force myself awake. A quicker breakfast is what follows, Italian bread, honey, a cup of ginger tea. Now I should be able to face the day.
On my way to work then, I suddenly remember: I hurt my foot the other day, still don’t know how, but wearing high-heeled boots surely isn’t helping. But running late as usual, I rush on. Three weeks I walked in Canada with a hole in my foot, so why should a pulled muscle be any worse? So I get used to the discomfort by walking through the pain and manage to remain within an acceptable margin of delay. Until the train decides to pull a bitch on me. Strangers walking on the rails, the announcement says, police coming in to solve the issue. That’s when I realize, it’s Monday morning, the 13th. One stop I managed to get closer to work and then back to where I started. But lucky me, a bus is coming right away, an express even. I’m relieved. So off we go making up for lost time until a truck gets in our way, backing into a driveway in slow motion. Needless to say we’re stuck in the middle of the street. No internet connection, no escape. Why I’m so calm, I cannot possibly say.
As I arrive at central station fifteen minutes later, I crave a coffee but no Starbuck’s anywhere in sight, only a guy stopping my walk flow on the stairs three fluffing times. He gets the Medici glare and jumps aside. Paid off to wear black and gold today, it seems. I wonder why…