I stand. I stand alone in a crowded city full of people whose faces are blurred like a camera out of focus.
I watch. I watch the people pass by me; pass, but never brush past my shoulders or knock me down.
I smile. I smile as the clock ticks by with seconds that resemble decades and minutes, centuries.
Not once has this lonely city stopped for me.
The clock continues to chime at ungodly hours, notifying clueless citizens of the darkening skies;
Taxis speed on top of shallow lakes, splashing innocent women’s Burberry trench coats and letting their makeup drip like blood from a bullet wound;
Children scream as if their nightmares were eating their physical bodies alive and whole, their voices shrill with agonizing frustration;
And couples break up under the dim streetlights, their paths diverging like a sudden fork in a road and they both took different lanes,
and they turn and walk, enveloped by the foggy night air, then gone.
Gone, like the brilliant sun that momentarily makes its mark on a cloudy Thursday evening;
Gone, like the wind of swirling red and gold leaves that vanish once it reaches that certain hilltop;
Gone, like the snow at the end of a frosty August;
Gone, like the pollen of a flower after a honeybee completes its daily job.
But then, she arrives; the girl with eyes so deep that if you stare for too long, you’ll drown in them.
The stranger sits beside me, says nothing, and I decide her silence was her most dominant feature.
The teacher glances at me, inaudibly pestering me to warm up to her, but I knew if I did, I’d have to befriend the… thing.
Grudgingly, I nudge her softly, as if any more disturbance would result in my head decapitated.
She looks; she looks with eyes that stare daggers at vulnerable prey.
She furrows her brows; she furrows them as if she were studying her victim’s thoughts and actions, preparing to attack when least expected.
She tenses; she tenses like a little girl after a crash of thunder in the dead of night.
Then she smiles; she smiles warmer than unconditional parental love, warmer than the sand on the beach of Bondi.
We exchange smiles. Greetings. Words. Sentences. Stories.
I had my door closed, locked with chains of steel and an iron padlock, but there she was; a complete stranger. With a key that didn’t fit, she picked at the padlock, again, and again, until finally, she unlocked it, and slowly, she entered my world.
Months passed, and no longer was her silence her main aspect. Rather, it was her warmth that radiated like ultraviolet or infrared, searing me inside out.
Then, something, something happened.
No longer was I isolated in the middle of a blazing desert.
No longer did I stand in alone in a city full of people.
No longer did those people ignore me. No longer did I ignore them.
Maybe life was better with her now.
Maybe this is forever. Maybe this is not.
A year drove by in its classy limousine, not stopping for anyone, not even us.
“I have to go,” she says, her voice breaking like shattering glass, her tears resembling those of the shards left behind on a lonely road.
The outdoor breeze caresses our faces, but the caress felt like sandpaper scratching raw flesh.
At those words, our memories flash, just like it would when our lives were cut short.
We made an artwork that was more beautiful than everyone else, because all that was on the canvas was me, her, and super glue that let our fingers intertwine with each others.
Together, we shared a love deeper than those of two lovers. We smiled broader than psychos. We trusted each other with keys that fit the broken padlocks. We opened each others doors.
And soon, those same doors will eventually close again.
I stand. I stand alone in a school full of people whose faces were blurred, because the camera only focused on a single object.
I watch. I watch the people pass by me; pass, but only one bothered to pull me in for a hug that kept me warm during the coldest winters.
I smile. I smile as the clock ticks by with seconds that resemble clicks and minutes, blinks, reminding me of the time we have left together.
Not once has this school stopped for me. For us.
Because, once again, she was gone in the wind.
Gone, with our memories tattooed on the back of our heads and backs and wings and eyes and faces and hearts.
Gone, with the key that opened my door that was supposed to stay closed.
Gone, without me.
Maybe, this was meant to be.
But alas, I smile at her, leading her out the door, but I did not close it.
I watch her silhouette gradually disappear into the fog outside the door, then she spreads her wings and vanishes like a magician’s famous act.
And I close my eyes, laughing, and lock my door once again.
She is gone.