Do you ever have dreams that are so beautiful and tragic you don’t want to tell anyone about them because it would taint the memory? That happened to me last night, so instead of posting a blog about the time I got into a car with a stranger as I had originally intended for today, you get my only case of déjà vu because that’s the mood that I’m in now.
When I was a prepubescent lass, I was invited to attend the wedding of my favorite uncle. This wedding was to take place an hour or so away from where I lived, and I looked forward to getting away for a little bit. When you’re ten years old and can’t go anywhere without your parents, everything is an adventure.
We arrived early at the church; my mother was swiftly engaged by my soon-to-be aunt requiring assistance with her makeup and attire while my stepdad was snatched away by his brother who also desperately needed help with his preparations. Left to my own machinations, I felt deserted and neglected.
My mother noticed me hovering on the outskirts of the action, and she told me to enter the sanctuary and take a seat. Mutely, I left the dressing room and walked to the sanctuary. My cousin was busy fulfilling his duties, but he told me that I needed to ask an usher to escort me to the groom side of the divide.
I twisted the lace overskirt of my dress between my hands nervously. I was already feeling out of sorts, and now I was told that I needed to interact with a complete stranger to seat me with a group of people I didn’t know? Overwhelmed, I darted into a darkened hallway away from all of the activity and hid until the service was over. I sniffled a little to myself in the shadowy corridor as I listened to the ritual take place.
Afterward, my mother collected me and didn’t comment about my absence in the sanctuary, if she had even noticed. She rubbed at a scratch on her elbow absentmindedly and waved farewell to the wedding party as they exited the building. The bridal party disappeared to take pictures at some pre-designated scenic location, and my mother decided that it was the perfect opportunity for her to run to Kmart for necessities.
We arrived at the Kmart and strode purposefully toward the building. My periwinkle dress floated delicately in the breeze as the automatic doors magnanimously granted us entrance to the store. My mother’s heels clicked against the beige tile as we rounded a corner and headed down a side aisle. The intercom buzzed as a nasally store associate requested information from a manager in another region of the building.
As we walked down the side aisle, I became infused with a strange sensation of expectancy. Anticipation rippled across my skin, raising the hairs which lightly dusted my almond-hued arms. Just then, a young man in his early twenties emerged from an aisle, our paths soon to cross. His shaved head reflected the florescent light overhead, and I blinked as my stomach flipped erratically. He was holding hands with a young woman of the same age, but I paid no attention to her presence.
His escort guided him along beside her as my mother directed me along an intersecting path. Both women were completely occupied by their mental shopping lists. A moment that should have been ten seconds seemed to triple in length as the man and I lessened the distance between us; time slowed.
As soon as I laid eyes on him, a deep, subconscious part of me thrummed insistently with awareness. It wasn’t a reaction of physical attraction but rather something completely beyond description. I had the strangest feeling that I knew him, in the deepest sense of the word. It was profound–an understanding, soul-deep.
Recognition and bewilderment colored my countenance, and I noticed that his visage mirrored my own expression of baffled responsiveness. A span of heartbeats lasted hours. There was no possibility that we had ever met before; I was a stranger in a strange land. I hadn’t seen him at the wedding; he and his cohort weren’t attired appropriately, and I hadn’t even been in the sanctuary with the rest of the guests.
My mother grabbed at my hand, hurrying me along as I lagged behind. I let her propel me, even though I knew I would never again see this mysterious man who had engendered such a strong reaction in me. Five seconds after we had passed each other, I turned to stare at him once more, hoping desperately that this final look would unlock the secret. And as I gazed upon him for the last time, I saw something that gave my heart another jolt.
He was looking back too.