Monday, April 3, 2017

Missed Connections

I didn't believe in love until the first time I saw you waiting for the bus. I was across the street at the Shell station filling up my baby blue 2002 Chevy Astro. When I went inside to pay, I noticed you through the window over the cashier's shoulder. The cashier asked me how much I wanted on the pump but I couldn't hear her over the overwhelming symphony that is your emanating beauty. Never before in my 39 years on this earth had I seen a creature more radiant and breathtakingly flawless. Although several months have passed since that day, I still have not seen a single soul who I could even begin to compare to your infinite perfection.

I remember you were looking in my direction and I think we made eye contact because you looked away, but for the fraction of a second when our eyes met I was overcome with such an incredible rush of emotion that I knew I had fallen in love. I felt that, through some indiscernible cosmic connection, I had gained entry into your soul and had seen who you truly are, and I knew that in my eyes you could see who I truly am. I know I'm being rhetorical but I remember feeling a sensation of weightlessness and when I looked down, I realized that my feet weren't touching the ground.

The cashier began to ask me again how much gas I wanted but the sound of her voice was cut off by the ringing of the electronic door chime as I swept through the automatic doors. I was almost hit by a car as I ran across the street but I didn't even care because after just one moment of experiencing your eternal warmth I had no fear of pain or death. The honking and shouting caught your attention and you looked over to see what the commotion was just as I reached the curb. I tried to play it off casually like I was trying to catch a bus but I think it was clear that you were the focus of my attention.

I smiled at you and said hi. You said hi back and I asked you what your name was and you told me but I don't think that was your real name. You looked annoyed, like I was bothering you, but I wasn't trying to, I just genuinely wanted to know your name. It's important for things to have names. In Genesis 11:1-9, the people said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves, otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth." This is how I know it is important for things to have names, because without them their memory would be carried away with the wind. I didn't want to lose the memory of you.

I asked you where you were going and you said you were going to school. It may not have seemed like it by my continued attempts at conversation but I knew you didn't want to talk to me, I just didn't care. There were no thoughts in my head or desires in my heart other than those directed at achieving your attention. I was a slave to the existence of your mind, body, and soul. My essence had been consumed by your presence, chewed up and spit out and reshaped into the disoriented, flawed man that stood before you and still exists to this day. Just then, I realized that you had got on the bus and that the bus had left.

I waited across the street from the bus stop for you to return but you never did. I slept in a sleeping bag in the back of my Astro in the parking lot of the Denny's down the block, and during the day I watched the bus stop through the scope of my grandfather's Springfield rifle that he got when he was fighting with the Marines in the Pacific theater in WWII. I waited about 17 or 18 hours before I realized that it was Saturday and you probably wouldn't be in school again until Monday, so on Sunday instead of watching the bus stop I went to see a movie instead.

On Monday I was back and so were you. This time, I tried making conversation about the weather. I asked if you had ever been to Mexico. You laughed nervously and inhaled from one of those vaporizer pens that have become so popular recently. I told you that you were too pretty and young to be smoking and you said, "Fuck off, creep," and then you got on the bus.

The next day I stayed in my Astro and followed the bus to your school. I waited until the bell rang at the end of the day and then looked for you in the sea of faces that rushed out of the main doors. It wasn't hard to pick you out because you were the only thing there in color; ever since I met you, the rest of the world has just been in black-and-white. You got into a car with some man and my heart sank, but when I looked at him through the rifle scope I was relieved to see that he was decades older than you and I remembered that back at the bus stop when I asked you if you wanted to go the movies you said that you didn't date older guys.

I followed the car to what I now know to be your dad's house. I wanted to know more about you so that the next time we spoke I could have something more interesting to say, so I dug through your garbage but it wasn't helpful because there was no way to determine if the trash I found was yours, or your dad's or your mom's, or one of your brothers', or your baby sister's. I circled the house on foot and spotted you just as you were closing the curtains to your room. I hid behind the bushes and watched your illuminated silhouette for about an hour or so. You mostly sat at your desk but occasionally you stood up to open a drawer or leave the room for what I can only assume was to use the bathroom.

I smoked a joint to pass the time while watching the dark spectre of your shadow, knowing that its owner was existing peacefully in a world without chaos or evil. Nothing bad would ever happen to you because it would be impossible for something so wholly and inherently good as your spirit to be affected by the corruptions and imperfections of man's folly. Just in case, I swore an oath then to God that I would protect and watch over you for the rest of my life, ensuring that any attempted corruptions of your soul would be met with swift justice. My life has been filled with trials and tribulations, mistakes and regrets, a few stints in the county jail and once in a prison in Venezuela, but all of this became irrelevant now that I had found purpose and meaning in my empty and futile existence.

You opened your window and blew out a cloud of nicotine vapor and I said hello. You screamed and the window dropped. Less than a minute passed before it opened again but this time it was the man who picked you up from school. He started yelling so I started running. I ran for maybe three or four miles until eventually a car from the Sheriff's Department pulled up behind me and I heard their commands to stop. I considered trying to evade them but I was already exhausted and my legs were sore and didn't want to get tasered or bit by a police dog again. I surrendered to their custody and as I felt the handcuffs lock into place I accepted my fate as an unfortunate outcome of the burden of unrequited love.

I keep a copy of the restraining order in my Astro as a constant reminder of love's unbearable irony. I still love you, I have loved you from the moment you entered my life, and I will love you for the rest of eternity, even after my corporeal form has diminished and my spirit has risen to the Kingdom of Heaven. The restraining order is in a folder with the other ones but yours I will cherish the most. In a few years when you're living on your own I'll come visit you again and maybe by then you will have suffered through enough experiences with terrible men to know a good man when one finally comes along. I will treat you like you deserve to be treated, I will nurture and protect our love, and I will please you generously.

I hope you don't forget me.

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