It was a mildly sunny day not unlike this one when he was walking to his class right on time, looking around and thinking different thoughts when this one thought, about him being alone and all came to mind; this one ought to be just right, the thought thought to himself, this one was leaning against her BFF in this unconcerned confidence that was casual but graceful though many years later he realize how rare this state is. Very unlike the state he was in at the moment, staring at the busy playground, filled with gorgeous mamas and their children.
As always, he was looking for her. The fair skinned girl he saw on the school yard some 40 years earlier. How would it have been had he actually approached her back then. After all he was then a nice young man, fairly intelligent and quite liked. Then he thought himself not there, or at least transparent, later life taught him what loneliness really was. It was hard, and silent, and relentless. After twenty years of silent he had no idea how to relent. They were so beautiful those young mothers, and happy and content; love made them walk on air. Should he speak to any of them? He just wanted to tell one of them how pretty she was, or how adorable her child was, but was too shy. Why, isn’t it nice to tell people what you think about them, especially when your thoughts are of beauty and goodness and kindness? He can’t bring himself to tell any of them anything, just like on that day 40 years ago on the school yard. What would’ve changed? Could this be a point of similar importance? Could he be putting his future on hold by not doing?
He thought these thoughts almost every day, but they were especially troubling when he was facing beauty. Beauty made him cry. He cried for the beauty of the world, and how much of it he would never see, he cried in excitement like when watching a really moving opera, or so he remembers, or not and then he cried for crying. His world was not an opera, maybe a play. If it’s a play he wondered by who. Definitely not Shaw. He was never funny or bright enough. One of the mothers lifted her daughter up to the monkey bars, exposing tanned flat tummy that made his thoughts a little less pure than before, so he immediately turned his eyes to the pigeons begging for some more of those cornflakes he was handing them. She may have caught a glimpse of his stare.
But then again it’s always been his problem; he’d gather the inner strength to look at a girl’s eyes and would turn away as soon as she’d look back. It didn’t matter how many times he told himself to stay the course. He’d think of himself as a god walking among men, brave and safe and good - will look at the mortal with love and acceptance, knowing what there is to know that they will never will. The subways crowds and underground hustlers and bus hangers and any other place where good number of people gather, they were all his to behold. Until they looked back. Then he would feel small, and dirty and totally misunderstood. He never though being understood was that important as he never felt there was anything in him mysterious or ever interesting enough for people to care to understand him. He was as understandable as bad weather, or any other weather for that matter.
Another mother was looking into the trunk of her stroller for a treat or something for her child and her whale tail undies showed. He took his time, knowing she can’t possibly be aware of him, when a slight movement in his pants made him remember this one time, when his girlfriend traveled to New York City and he stayed behind. She gave him a goodbye night that he never forgot. He never forgot her, wondering if she remembers him. Maybe he should call her. If only he knew her phone number. He could tell her all about himself and his whereabout for the last 30 years. But the mother straighten up and did throw him a look. I knew it! She looked back! He felt he was there, he was not transparent. He can look, and think, and love back, and hug, and put his head in her armpit and fall asleep and feel so there. So real. At last he could be how and where he felt he should be. He thought all that when he felt all too masculine hands lifting him from the bench. “you can’t be here sir”. He looked at the mother and the mothers looked back. I have love, he thought. Will always have love.
(c) 2010 Eyal Nevo