March 19, 2007
I stood on the stairs at the front of the building, looking down at her. She stood quietly, arms crossed. “We had to talk.” That’s not quite true. The reality of the situation was that she had to talk, and I was going to listen. So often “We have to talk” means “I have something to say.”
And then those crushing words fell out of her mouth: “I don’t want to see you any more.”
At the time, it was a surprise. A genuine surprise; I thought things were going well. I remember walking, just walking, for hours the following day. It was a nice day, a sort of a bittersweet twist on the night previous. In hindsight, I now realise I didn’t have a clue how to conduct a relationship, and that I was probably in the relationship to be able to say that I was in a relationship. I was a drunk, and a no-hoper. I had two states: drunk, or hungover, and one was generally always cancelling the other out. Anybody putting money on me becoming a success were betting on the wrong horse. I wasn’t sober for about three years, and she happened right in the middle of all that. There’s so much I don’t remember about her.
Fast forward 7 years. I’m standing in the queue at the cinema, and one of the girls handling tickets looks strangely familiar. Is it her? I brush that particular crazy idea aside. It couldn’t be. She looks too different. But then I get up close, and check her name badge. Jeez, it is her. I haven’t seen or heard from her since that evening all those years ago.
We weren’t in a position to talk, I was served by somebody else. No eye-contact was made. But I wonder how long she’s been working there. Have I not noticed her before? Hell, have I spoken to her without realising? Our paths last crossed so long ago that I’m no longer bitter or annoyed about the whole thing. It might even be interesting to catch up.
But I wonder what she would think of the new, sober me? Would she be surprised at the success I have seen? I wonder what her life has dealt her? Perhaps I’ll go see a movie some time.