I would have cleared my nest of baby birds to get her, perfect was she adorned in her flaws. It doesn’t matter who I hurt, sang the tweets and flutes that accompanied my every thought. And they were many, whether I was on the subway platform or sweating in front of a public restroom mirror.
So what if she was queer and I wasn’t? Or isn’t everyone? That was a taxing idea and beyond irrelevant. I swatted it away. I only knew that she and I must know each other, or I would murder myself.
She didn’t exist? You’re wrong! Wasn’t that her sauntering up the street to cross my path? From a distance, it’s true, I was never sure, always thinking it was some dude, but no, it was her! It was her hesitant recalcitrant expression, her tentative swagger. I’ll know her until I’m old, I promised myself. I’m older now remembering that year. I try to remember the woman I loved. I want her and she fades.
How could she be just some rando that I still see on occasion? How could she be another stranger bent over a laptop? I’d not considered that she’d see me and not know me, and worse, that I’d not know her, never even for a moment.
Who did I love?
She was herself and no other. I’d thought I’d bring her places and introduce her to people, showing them who I like, opening their eyes, reordering reality. I’d kiss her, yes, and hold her. And not to be too chaste about it, but I only wanted my cheek to softly graze hers, to whisper you mean everything.
She forsook me and I was bereft. Then there was nothing to do but gently take apart the whole edifice of my being down to the lowest sub-basement. Because we once chatted over laundry.
If our eyes meet now, there’s not one trace of recognition. We have no friends or pastimes in common, no shared haunts or interests. She’s just some specter on the sidewalk with whom I can barely force a conversation. In fact, I have no idea who she is, but whoever I loved, it was with tears of joy and acres of possibility. Maybe she dwells yet, faintly somewhere, more like the sun rising that some swank siren. Maybe her name isn’t even Sarah Jones.