I remember you like a woman who comes up and out of the subway like a flower opening in the spring. Quite unsuspectingly. Brushed by the crowd. Thinking of nothing in particular but the sun on your face, the clarity of sound of your shoes on the pavement. I remember the lightness of your thoughts and the strangeness you always felt knowing that something else more important was about to happen. That your shoes and the sunlight shadows are nothing compared to the face in the crowd you are about to see that will bring you to a place of unpredictable gracelessness.
I remember your face and your swirling hair when he appeared as if starting from a pinpoint in the distance in that slow, steady, irreversible manner in which dreams occur or a movie in slow motion is played out. And at each step, I remember your face, seemingly locked into a pattern of recognition—yours for his— forming the ability to block out stimuli, tunnel vision, drawing yourself closer in no other manner more appropriate than the way an average business woman walking down a crowded street at rush hour would. Only, for a moment, you and he share the same tempo in your walk. A pace that is not only yours but his. And the brain and the eyes like the magic that is synchronicity form from the shared memory that is reborn and says, “There is my old lover.”
Roy Orbison’s In Dreams goes through your heads. The tune, one last invisible, magical, connecting thread. And an “I heart you,” written on a chalkboard that was erased many years ago comes back in dust to reshape those same words, like the glittery bang of a dying star. The passing is nothing less than a miracle— the work of a god that believes in reminding us that this felt good once. But it’s gone. Just like a cruel trick. Erased. I remember you like a woman who smiles a cordial smile. Briefcase in hand. Flustered and hurried and harried. Passing close enough to rub shoulders with a stranger. Your mind always elsewhere. I remember the very faint smell of a cologne and a perfume that once, when mixed, made its own smell and lingered much longer than anyone had expected.