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  • He wanted it to play out just right; yet he was like a fidgety, impatient 3-year old in a high chair, flailing his arms about madly in frantic windmills. It hadn’t been so long ago, the last time he’d felt anything remotely like what he was feeling right now. But looking at her now, he everything else was clouded over by a vague, hazy shroud.

    He couldn’t even remember how it had started. How a random introduction through the tenuous connection of mutual friends of friends (of friends?) had led to this. His friends thought he was making a big deal out of nothing, of course, since the ambiguous salacity of “this” merely referred to a mundane conversation much in the typical getting-to-know-you strain. The pre-dawn chat was special to him though. Amid the babble of the crowd and the sonic devastation, he only had ears for her, a sentiment that was evidently mutual. Or so he hoped.

    He thought that they could have gone on forever, lost in each others’ words. Each time her leg accidentally brushed against his, he did not feel the electric jolt of unadulterated pleasure. Instead, a frisson of glowing warmth washed over him. But their privacy was of a limited nature. The indifferent crowd picked up on none of the subtle nuances that marked theirs as an interaction of potential promise. In the eyes of the world, they were insignificant to one another and their gentle, probing explorations held no sanctity. He put down his glass of champagne. The bubble had been burst. It was time to go.

    He offered to walk her home, hoping to steal a few more precious moments with her. Moments in which he desired to softly brush the hair out of her eyes, to uncover more of what was within. He had enjoyed speaking with her immensely, yet knew hardly anything about her.

    As if in awe of the stillness of the night, and the near-waking moments that would soon be upon him, he walked, mute. He felt suspended in time, yet sensed that whatever cosmic wizardry had granted him this magic would soon wield its wand heavily and take it all away.

    His pace was neither quick, nor lingering. What he really wanted to do was to jerk abruptly to a stop, and snatch time with both fists, from the middle of nowhere. But he was shy of her, and uncertain of his own desires. He stole a sideward glance, and saw his own awkwardness reflected back at him in the off-kilter tilt of her chin, and perhaps the slight clench of her jaw. Her eyes were not vacant, but held in them a sense of loss. The greater significance of her demeanor he could not fathom, and would not ask.

    Unsure of how to break the silence, he started singing. His voice cracked mid-note, and he hesitated. He didn’t know if he could, or should, go on. She turned to look at him then. He looked deeply into her eyes, fighting the urge to brush the back of his hand against her cheek ever so gently. And he sang on, as she wordlessly drank it all in.

    “This is me,” she said.

    And abruptly, the wand had been brandished. He suddenly noticed that the sky had given up its black cloak, to the rejoicing chorus of sparrows. Once again, the bubble had been burst. He remembered the glass of champagne. How entranced he had been, watching the bubbles dance their drunken little dance all the way to the surface. Pop!

    “Thanks for walking me back.”

    She turned slightly, and paused.

    He hesitated.

    A million thoughts danced like fireflies through his mind.

    It might have been his imagination, but her shoulders slumped ever so slightly as she shut the door behind her.

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