I never thought I would actually see her in real. Yes, she did dominate my imaginary world at one point in time. There were dreams—when awake and asleep both, and in those dreams I had lived this situation a million times. I had played it over and over in my head like a song that is stuck on loop. I thought I was prepared for it, for her and for those eyes.
I have never been more wrong.
I recognized her the moment she got on the bus– as if she owned it along with the rest of the world. She smiled at every person who she laid her eyes on. It was a private smile—the type that emerges after knowing a person for decades or more.
My luck– she sat in the seat right in front on me. That is when it became difficult to breathe. The way she tied her hair in a high bun, her black earrings, the way her nose crinkled in the corners when she smiled and the dimple on her left cheek—they were all as he had described them to me, a lifetime ago.
My heartbeat raced and the body started responding. Along with difficulty in breathing, I could feel the perspiration and the hollowness in the chest. You would know the latter if you are familiar with bungee jumping or paragliding.
After about half hour of that ordeal, she turned back to look directly at me. She could probably feel my eyes boring into her back. Our eyes met and I could see that she recognized me. I knew those eyes. They were mine but a hundred times more powerful. He had a fondness for our eyes. There can be nothing better than a pair of hazel buttons, he used to say.
Did I expect to see anger, irritation or shame? I know not. What I saw in them took me by surprise. It was love—unadulterated love. She smiled. But this one was different. It calmed my racing heart, cleared my nasal passage and relaxed my muscles.
She came over to me and kissed me on the cheeks. “Hello, I’ve missed you,” she said. I understood her. “Sorry to have kept you waiting. It won’t happen again.”
I gave her space to come and sit in the empty seat near me and we held hands the rest of the way home.
She had loved him as I had and now, we had both lost him. And in loving him, she had loved me more than she would ever know. She was half me and I was half her and now we could start getting to know our lost pieces.