It might be a chance meeting, somewhere totally random, at a time when my thoughts are turned towards the mundane—why didn’t I bring an umbrella? It’s going to rain—or more lofty matters, probably the former though I have no way of knowing what my mind will be occupied with. I am unprepared, though in my dreams I’ll have lived this moment a hundred times or more. I’ll see you across the street maybe, first doubting what my eyes are telling me but my racing heart will know long before my mind has ascertained the truth.
Call your name or walk on?
A few seconds to make a choice, too little time to decide.
I walk on, away…and it takes a little while for a pain so sudden and so great, so fresh it might all have happened yesterday, to fill my chest and spread, making me stumble and try to catch my breath.
I stop, hesitate and call your name, first in a whisper, then louder, because I cannot let you disappear, again. You see me and there’s no wavering for you, you know what to do, you come to me as if this moment was always meant to be. My body is stiff when you hug me, it’s been years since you last held me, years filled with many things, some of them happy but a life nevertheless underlined with a particular kind of misery. What, next? A pub? Probably. Very little talk to start with. I take you in, a bit more grey in your hair, more lines etched on your face, you look pretty much as I imagined you must do, every time I allowed myself to think of you. I don’t know if I’ll find the words, alcohol might help or hinder but maybe no words will be needed, perhaps the touch of my fingers will be enough for you to understand I have always loved you, even as I ran from you, even as I kept away, all these years when we were separated but together all the same, you and I held by a small, powerful unwinding thread—forever isn’t just found in fairy tales.
Which will it be? One way or the other, a tragedy.