Wednesday, June 16, 2004

A Woman I Love

You looked beautiful in your yellow blouse, showing off your tan lines, your curves. Your teeth seemed to glint each time you opened your mouth to laugh. It had been quite a while since I last saw you so carefree, so unconditionally happy. It was the best birthday gift you've ever given me, seeing a side of you you've kept under wraps for so long a time. I'd missed you. And I remember.

I remember you as a girl so full of spunk and balls you ignited. High school kids we were. Stupid and naive I was. I'd had my wallet stolen in a bookstore and you gamely suggested we run after the snatchers, all four of us fourteen year-olds in our blue and white uniforms. It was futile, but made me feel better. That day I decided I wanted to hang around you and be your friend. The details are hazy and I don't remember everything, but that was a landmark day in my head and I look back to it with fondness. I'd discovered something wondrous, now I know. You were beautiful then.

I remember you as a girl who cared nothing of what people say. Sashaying down corridors unmindful of what the other girls thought of you. A snob, they told me. A show-off, they told me. You simply shrugged it off and went your merry way choreographing dances, directing stage-plays and plotting pranks in your head. You were beautiful then, and worthy of admiration.

I remember you on our first day in college. Giddy we were, wide-eyed, on the threshold of higher learning. The doors of the university were open, cavernous, overwhelming. But afraid I was not, because I had you by my side. Together we dared the world to come get us. So eager to taste, smell, hear and see all that we could. We tested waters previously unknown, even forbidden. Fearless we seemed. Indestructible.

Then the months go by, and people have come around, beside and between us. We’d found life-long friends along the way. And found loves. HE came. Your first love, your first agony. He broke you, this I know now. And in pieces you were for a long time. Young and inexperienced, I couldn’t share your pain. You were hurting, but I couldn’t fix it. I didn’t know how. But as they say, time heals all wounds. You glued the pieces back together somehow, but you were never quite the same. Still beautiful you were then, so fragile yet unwavering. But the light you once had around you didn’t shine the way it used to.

Looking back I wonder now if I could’ve done something to change how the chips have fallen. Have I failed you, I wonder. Last Saturday, on my birthday, I glimpsed that light that once shone from you so brightly, inviting me to come near. Perhaps, bit by bit, it will come back. And so, I am hopeful. A decade it’s been, you’re still beautiful now. And I love you.

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