Sender Only

These words are written
solely
for the stranger
with whom I was never able to exchange a single word
yesterday.
So here I am, speaking with you, stranger, wishing you could hear me.
But, I’m thinking, maybe my words aren’t for you,
maybe they are for me…
I guess we shall see,
which one it is,
when we get to the end of this.
I was out of my mind when you caught my eye;
it had left for the clear blue skies with the warm summer breeze.
Then, your gaze pulled me back into it, into the street and onto the cobble stone.
But it was too late – I tripped.
You smirked, I saw it.
To hide my shame and fix my shoe,
I swirled around and stared through the window and at those…
what were probably shoes.
After a few minutes of…
staring…
in shame…
I lifted my gaze
and stared directly into your eyes
that were looking at me
through the window.
You might have been eating ice cream,
and you might have been smoking,
and you might have been sitting with someone else.
I’m not sure,
not sure about any of that;
I was showering
in goosebumps,
in public,
involuntarily,
incurably.
Then you got up, quickly,
and I walked away, as fast as I could, with my shoe still half off, and so almost
tripped again.
At the next bench, I stopped to rest and catch my breath.
Where had my senses gone,
in the middle of my hometown pedestrian zone
on that sunny afternoon.
I felt your gaze on my back one more time but then only saw you walk away when I turned around.
And so I did, too,
to get my hair cut.
When I was almost restored and ready to leave the little hometown hair salon,
where old men laugh and old ladies cry about the same things every year,
you walked in
to get your hair cut.
The surprise leapt out of my lungs with a little cough,
a little squeal,
a little almost-burp.
Sorry about that, I’m just not a princess kinda gal.
As you waited to be next,
you sat opposite of me
on the other side of the little room
with those old ladies,
and pretended to read.
You read the newspaper first,
twice,
and then the wallpaper,
on all sides,
and then your shoelaces and shoes,
and then yourself in the mirror,
and then me,
finally.
And then we just gazed,
even when I was asked to look in the mirror for approval,
even when you were asked if you just wanted the usual.
I approved and you agreed.
We both smiled.
And then I was done and you were not,
and so I left and you didn’t.
And on my way out, our hands almost touched,
almost.
Sometimes I’m sure they did,
often I wish they had for just a little longer,
always I know it will never happen again.
That was yesterday, just yesterday.
In my mind, I’ve shared all day with you,
and all of my plans for tomorrow, too.
I’m taking a trip, you see.
And now that it’s really all over,
very over,
even though it never really began in the first place,
I want you to know that our little meetcute
in the middle of the street
in the middle of the day
was the serendipitous disruption I’d longed for
for so long.
Now that the unusual is possible again,
in the logarithmic life of mine,
I greet you from afar,
hoping you’ll hear me when I say:
Thanks, for stopping by.