The shops weren’t closing, people weren’t disappearing from the streets, but the night was falling in a rush on that December evening, and I was just outside the university building having a smoke and thinking of finishing up for the day and going home. And I couldn’t take my eyes off you, glasses and jeans and shirt and fancy jacket and your way of waiting there by the garbage can on 5th Avenue, and the way the light from the streetlights fell on you and your impatience. There was that sense of recognition of you, one I could not escape whenever it occurred, that halfway point between familiarity and the acknowledged impossibility of randomness turning into significance.
And out of that crowd that travelled like wolves in packs downtown, your other half detached itself from the pack like a small rivulet and started flowing over into your direction, and you acknowledged him and he came to you and kissed you, and nobody cared about it except the two of you. I rolled my eyes at you both and at your gesture like I roll my eyes when an old woman refuses to take the seat you just offered her on the subway. Your encounter somewhat resembled the feet of a luminous creature, frail toes and all, like those of an angel, seen for a brief moment by drowning children before they are pulled out by a stranger and dragged on the shore.
The stranger was not saving the child, the child is beyond saving, the stranger was merely considerate of the parents and their investment, all of those years lost in the idiocy of a profane moment.
But then, just like the feet of that proverbial angel, frail toes and all, the two of you disappeared, and I was left floating on my cloud of smoke.
You laughed when I told you this story and said it was hilarious, too saccharine for your taste. You said you no longer believe in love. Once you had fallen in love with a guy out of boredom.