Twelve years was a long time. There were nights that he would embrace the spare pillow…hoping to recapture the humanity of a human touch…skin on skin…that had eluded him for so long. He had long since forgotten the magic of a kiss. The warmth of a desperate embrace. The serenity of gazing into the eyes of a loved one.
It was something forgotten, but not mourned. It was a choice. It was time to recharge, rebuild, and pay the price for the squandered actions of his youth. The lives and relationships destroyed through his disease were many. He had tapped out his account. His balance sheet was empty.
“Who are you?” he asked. I’m Naomi. I just started here. Hmmm. She looks like she’s just come off the street. Wearing clothes that were clearly a size–or many–too big and carrying an attitude to match. He thought very little of her in the beginning. Nondescript…plain if you will. She simply did not stand out.
Naomi was different though. He began to notice it in the way they interacted. Something was different. He wasn’t sure if it was her or him…but something felt…wrong, unsettling. There was an ease to their interactions that disarmed him. Again, he tried to pinpoint it. Is she physically attractive? He honestly couldn’t tell. It was as if she intentionally tried to hide her beauty, like a woman on the run, afraid that her true identity would be discovered. He poked and probed. Who is she? What is she like? What is her story?
The day came when she announced she was spoken for. He remembers that he blurted out something like: “that’s a shame, I thought we were kindred spirits”…he said it with a heavy air of sarcasm, clearly not meant to be taken seriously by him or her. But it was true and he was finally beginning to see the sunlight peaking over the horizon…there was something there.
Over the course of the next few months, it began to infect him. Their social intercourse had become so natural, so de rigueur that not only was it disarming…it was cause for real concern. He was falling in love with her.
It wasn’t her looks. It wasn’t her mind. It was her soul that had captured him. Her essence. Who she was. He hadn’t seen it coming. It hit him from an angle he didn’t even know existed in the physical world. It was preposterous and painful. She’s not on the market. Until she is.
It was the moment she told him “this is why I talk to you”…such a simple statement; but it carried the weight of a thousand worlds behind it. It was her subconscious profession of love for him.
Their love was in its infancy. But their souls have been together for many millennium. They both felt it. The unexplained connection between two humans that defies words and physical expressions of love. The look behind the eyes that betrays all the walls that have been built to protect them against exactly this feeling…this profound vulnerability. This love.
But it’s a story in motion…as all good love stories are. And perhaps one day, they will exist in the same space…metaphorically and physically.
For now…perhaps will have to do…