A work of fiction.
I think it was him. If only I heard his voice more clearly. I would have recognized his voice. I should have leaned in for a better look at him. How much can you tell from someone’s back? His head is full of hair still. Isn’t that weird? Did he like not age or something?
Great. I missed the train. I have to stop with this daydreaming and imagination. It’s bad enough that I am not getting enough sleep, and now this. Clearly, there is insomnia behind this image. I have not been giving enough rest to my brain to function normally. Not that it ever does function normally.
I mean, think about it. Why would he even be here? This is not where he ever planned to be. I planned on being here. It was my dream to move to a place unknown, a place lonely, where I could find myself. It wasn’t his choice. That is what the problem was. Well, not a problem, ‘difference of opinion’ like he said. Ugh, wise men. They are the issue. They are too smart and too right and too soon. And sometimes you are not ready to hear them over your big plans and dreams. Why should you? You’ve got one life. Living it your way is the only way to live.
I can’t believe I am mumbling to myself on the stairs as the second train passes the platform. Doofus! Doofus!
Maybe I just need a drink. A strong drink, some food, and lots of sleep. I should call in sick for tomorrow before this insomnia becomes sickness for real. I could say I am down with fever. I have not taken an off in a long time. They can proofread articles for one day without me. I should also call mom. It has been days I have heard from her.
But isn’t it odd? The uncanny resemblance to him? Whoever that person was, it just felt like I knew him. It is odd. This town is literally hidden outside of Toulouse. A person needs to be really determined to be secluded if he/she resides here. That is me, of course. I am not lonely. I just like being alone. I have spent years around people, like an extrovert, actually. I just needed some peace, you know, to find myself before I was lost completely.
We are funny, humans. We are the most unusual creatures in the world. We plan and plan and execute and make all of it happen only for it to shatter one day. Most of the time, we know a lot of things are not going to work out when we first step into them, but we do it anyway. Stubborn.
The third train is a charm. I can’t stop thinking about him. That man smelled like him, didn’t he? That Paco Rabanne smell. I guess my olfactory senses are no longer working. Why would someone who lives here, come to a small cafe, all the way towards the end of a lonely street wearing Paco Rabanne?
Just sleep on it, as I step out on the platform. I really enjoy these walks to the home, you know. Spring is around the corner, it is going to be scenic. France, after all, is the love capital. Every other street literally blooms. There’s Elena, I ought to say hi to her. She is nice. Too sweet, sometimes. It’s annoying the way her smile is too bright. You can see her gums if you look carefully. It is just too much.
I need to set a reminder on my phone to email Derek, he should know that I am not going to be at work tomorrow. Maybe I should go to therapy. It has been a while since I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Sood. She is amazing. She knows all the right things to say and all the things that I need to hear. Of course, she charges 400 Euros for it, but she is accommodating and kind.
I should email her, too, and ask if she can squeeze me in for an hour in her day. I am sure she can, she likes me. I am not a nagging patient. I don’t even have breakdowns like I used to. It has been weird. I miss being out of control. Like letting loose. I don’t do that anymore. My life is simple. Calculated and under control. I don’t even miss the excitement. Too old for it now.
Tonight’s mood is Elvis Presley. I remember the first time I listened to him. In his car. Okay, now I am deliberately doing this to myself. Such a sadist. This is not alright, though. I am clinging on to something that I have clearly imagined and is very stupid. I am 35. Thirsty fucking five. I should start behaving like one. I should call mom, see how she is doing. Maybe not. She will say the same things, and if all went well, she might even question my orientation and say I liked women.
I am crossing my own limits of overthinking today. But I can’t get my head to stop thinking. Maybe I am just paranoid and misleading myself over a silly dream. I guess I am just stressed with work. Really, work? I am an editor.
“Take my hand, take my whole life, too,” did we dance to this? I think we did. It was a lot of Old Monk that night, my memories are blurry. But I think we did. We were such children claiming to be in love and imagining lives together. But I think we knew. We knew it from the very first day. You know, those too good to be real things? They happen. And that happens more often than you think.
I think we all have this idea for a perfect life. It obviously, OBVIOUSLY shatters. But we all imagine it. To the best of our capabilities. He and I did that too. We imagined a life in the woods, with a dog and a fur rug by the fireplace where we’ll make love just like the way they show in the movies. We all love that one scene. Admit it.
But that is what it is. A scene from a movie. Real-life is complicated. Or let me rephrase this. Real-life is complicated by us. By needs, demands, parents, society, careers, money, priorities, if I make a list, we will be here for days.
Should I reactivate my Facebook to see where he is? That’s stalking. You are a grown-ass woman. Keep that last shred of dignity safe. Keep it.
Maybe it’s only for the best that I don’t know. I am clearly hanging on to some idea of him when he could be happily married to a pretty girl and even have a kid. He deserves this life more than anyone. A stable, healthy, and most importantly, happy life. I hope he is living his life this way.
Don’t take me wrong, my love is not unconditional. But I am somewhat guilty for having made it away from him when I did. I am not blaming myself. I just always knew I was never the one, and I took more time than I should have to tell him that. I should have said to him that my dreams were different and that it is not going to work out.
Women. They want everything.
Honestly, I am happy. I am comfortable at home, at work, in life. I have a lovely group of friends who are always checking up on me. Lhea, she is my best friend. She loves me. There is Dan, he is fantastic. I wish he was straight, he and I could have had some fun together. My family has made peace with my situation, and though they do not think it is ideal that I spend life by myself. And maybe have a kid out of the frozen eggs of mine. Yes, I froze my eggs. I do want kids. I am too scared to be alone when I am old, and I want to experience pregnancy. I do. I think they have made their peace with it, my parents. They know the only way to push me further on anything will drive me away from them. That’s love.
It was him. I can feel it in my bones. I am never wrong with my intuition. Okay, that’s dramatic. But, I am often right about my hunches. I think I would never feel it so strongly if it wasn’t him. But how can it be him? Is he looking for me? Is he here on some business? What business, blueberries? I think I am overthinking. It cannot be him.
I am going to go back to that place tomorrow and ask the owner about that man. I am going crazy. I think I should make myself a larger drink this time. Alcohol seems to be having no effect on my stupidity today. This is not only absurd but like batshit crazy. If I called Lhea and told her, she would grill me and grill me hard.
Great. The phone is ringing. I am sure it’s mom. She never fails to miss a chance to call in such times. She will talk to me and make me vulnerable and make me question all my life choices in a matter of ten minutes. She is effortlessly cool like that.
This is weird, it’s not mom. It is some number that I do not recognize. Too late for them to be calling about a credit card scheme now, isn’t it? I’ll let it go to the voicemail. I have no strength or patience to entertain anyone right now.
“Hey, it’s me. I am so silly, I don’t think you remember my voice. It’s me, Luke. This might come as a big surprise… err… shock to you. But I spoke to your mom, she mentioned you moved here two years ago. Well, I was hoping if you wanted to have coffee sometime? I have just arrived here, but there is a very nice small cafe by the end of St Martin’s street. It reminded me of you, so I just sat there today. Anyway, don’t be alarmed, I just think it would be nice to see you after all this time. Call me.”