I was shopping and you were on my mind. It’s hard for you to not be on my mind. Recently there’s so much I want to talk to you about, and the missing never seems to go away. I wish I would dream of you. I just keep dreaming the same unrealistic things, when all I want is to see you.
I overestimated the weather, and had a big jumper on that was uncomfortably warm, the t-shirt under it was sticking to my sides. My armpits were damp, and I was uncomfortable. I began to watch the people around me to steer my mind from the heat.
The street I was on always makes me think of Diagon alley. The buildings shoot up into the sky like jagged, overlapping teeth, sometimes people watch from the windows everyone wriggling like ants on the floor. There’s stalls in the middle that you have to step around, and buskers like guards on the street. I like it so much because it’s always bustling with people. It feels easy to me, to disappear, turn my music up, my mind off. At that moment I wanted to be alone in a busy world, wrapped up by music with a moment of silence to live in my body.
My thoughts began to drift to how you would watch people at airports. You loved airports for that reason. I learnt to love people-watching when I lived in Spain. I couldn’t speak the language, so I would try to work out what people were saying through their faces, their bodies, their hands.
These people were loud, so I turned my music up. I carefully assessed the policeman talking to a stressed market stall owner. I saw girls shouting at each other and falling about in peels of laughter. I saw shifty eyes, masked faces, big, open smiles. Mostly I watched people who walk down the cobbled, crooked street with speed in their heels, and worry on their face.
I’m sure I was one of them.
I don’t remember what was playing, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. I just remember seeing you. I stopped walking, and common sense told me not to run over to you. But it was you; through and through.
Your wildflower blue eyes. Your tanned skin. Your sparse, short eyebrows. You fussed with a light pink scarf and adjusted it around your neck.
I hung in a balance of life and death. My world was being tipped, my plans, future and hopes sloshing in a basin in the universe’s lap. The people around me lay forgotten on the floor like discarded toys in comparison to you. My eyes would have followed you anywhere. Nothing else matters to me.
Slowly you started to disappear from me. She was too short. Her nose wasn’t your nose. She wasn’t looking around at everyone as carefully as you do. You never lived through a pandemic. You are dead. She is alive.
I turned my head, and then my body as she walked past me, my mouth hanging on its joint. My heart wanted to follow her like a lost puppy. She hammered against my ribcage, screaming for the person who was lost, to come back to her. Yes, she wasn’t you, but she was the closest I had ever got. She was a reflection in the water, she was a blurry photo. She was a ghost of the real person.
I wondered if maybe you were that short, and maybe I’ve grown. I got stuck on the fact that I might not have ever looked at you from my adult height. I don’t know why it’s those weird technicalities that get to me. Yet I came to, picked myself up and walked on. All I could think was: My Mum didn’t like salmon pink. She would never wear a scarf like that.
You would wear florals, or materials with trees on. Sometimes birds would chase each other around your neck, and sometimes dots decorated you. I don’t know why you would wear such beautiful scarves, when you were the most beautiful person I knew. There was no way for anyone to notice a scarf before your smile, your eyes, or your laugh.
I love you.
A Song For You: M83: Midnight City – This city is my church.