I feel the grey pavement scuff the bottoms of my old Chucks. I’m careful to look around and see if this is the place I remember. Everything seems to be in its proper place. The high ceilings are illuminated from the outside light from the articulate windows. I see the crosses and meetings of the green steel and I begin to trip on my shoe laces from the comforting distraction. The walls have kept their lifeless pale color. Tattered posters grip themselves to their temporary homes on the columns dividing the walkway. Their edges are frayed and slightly curled from moisture and light. The only sounds I hear are the droplets of water dripping on the unforgiving ground and a few chatty pigeons. The air smells of fresh rain and new life.
There is no one around. That is odd for this time of day. He should be here. I glance around the corner of the protruding column beside me as I stop to take it all in. I look up at the green decorative clock and notice a few minutes have past.
Where could he be? He should probably be here by now. I slowly shift to see a deserted area to my right. No. He’s not there. I glance to my left and see him sitting silently on a black bench. As I move toward him pigeons ascend to the rafters and I catch his eye. I smile and I take a seat beside him. He nods and shows a toothy grin.
“Where have you been, stranger?” he asks as he turns my way.
“Here and there,” I reply as I settle in to the hard bench. “Has it come yet?” I implore.
“Not yet. Still waiting,” he says as he shifts his attention to his clasped hands.
I slowly nod in understanding and look forward to see a small piece of paper floating through the soft breeze. We sit in silence for a moment and just enjoy each other’s presence. I notice he has brought flowers this time. They are spring daisies wrapped in light blue paper held together by a starch white ribbon.
“They are beautiful,” I say as I nod to the flowers.
“Oh, these,” he says picking them up. “Yes, I hope she likes them.”
I notice he seems a little preoccupied as he touches each of the sunny faces nestled in their pale blue nest. I hope she comes this time. He has been waiting for so long. His tweed jacket shows a few wrinkles that have been caused by the wait. His pocket watch is slightly peeping from its pocket as if to signify that time is always rearing its threatening head at him. He won’t stop fidgeting his leg and soon his puts his fist under his chin to support his weary head.
He doesn’t seem to mind that I look different from everyone else. My jeans and sneakers don’t bother him in the slightest. The women hold up their skirt hems as the men stroll along in tailored suits to the ticket windows. They normally walk past and give sideways glances and snarly looks but he was different though. His face seemed so focused yet soft. He was suspended through time yet he did not panic or fight. His light brown eyes would simply glance at different objects and illuminate when any new thought came pouncing into his mind. I suppose that is how he copes with it all.
I had learned from my last visit that he was waiting on someone very special. She lights up rooms with a single smile and glides through life as if she were floating on air. Her hair shames the sunshine that lights up this very structure. She laughs as if she will never again have the chance to do so. She is the substance of his dreams and the occupant of his heart. He practically glows when he speaks of her. It’s the look a mother has when she holds her infant for the first time or the strong presence the moon has on a cold winter’s night. She must come this time.
An hour passes and there is still no sign. He takes the pocket watch to compare it to the green standing clock. He shakes it close to his ear and looks again. The same time stares at his puzzled face. He clicks it shut and sighs as he puts it back slowly in his pocket. Suddenly we hear the metal tracks vibrate and the sound of a faint shrill whistle. He immediately stiffens his back in a military fashion. I shift to look past him.
There comes the large black beast that will seal his fate for now. It slowly and painstakingly edges its way to the terminal. Each second meanders on as an eternity. My heart is rapidly thumping and my stomach lurches with anticipation. He sits in a patient daze. His eyes are locked on the cars and the hope of seeing her again. He couldn’t be budged by anything at this point. The passengers slowly emerge from their journey with stiff legs and weak smiles. He looks through them all to find her. People soon begin to fill the once barren station with idle chatter and footsteps.
She isn’t there. The last of the passengers walk past him as he slowly opens his mouth to take in some much needed air. He seems to wilt along with the daisies. I can only imagine how devastated he is. He was so patient. Surprisingly he looks back up at me with a soft smile. I return a look of curiosity mingled with sadness.
“It’s worth it, you know,” he says as his smile grows slightly.
“What is? What’s worth it?” I ask with my head shaking slowly.
“Love. If seeing her meant staying here for years and feeling that same pain over and over it would still be worth it.”
I look at him and begin to process what he has said. Could it be true? Could disappointment and pain be the things that separate love from vague inclinations and hallucinations? I feel an unseen arrow pierce my heart. Finally I see it all. The thing we want the most sometimes requires waiting and disappointment, but soon enough it will be ours.
His smile starts to slant and loose its color. The walls melt in to the darkness and the rafters transfigure themselves back into the shadows and replaced by harsh sunlight.
It’s all gone.
Loads of Love,