They’re in close proximity, but they never touch. Once their fingers brush against one another; once skin makes contact, it becomes real. And when it becomes real, it’s over.
And yet, she knew this the weekend she visited him in Brooklyn. She knew it was over before a beginning could take hold; she knew it was over when she rode the train and two subways that late Friday afternoon during rush hour, the stale moments of waiting and moving finally culminating in his hands taking her bags at their appointed meeting ground, right by the L stop. She knew it was over when they walked around the neighborhood together, and he was unable to keep her gaze. He could easily feign distraction, but she figured it was more than that. She knew this, but knowing wasn’t good enough.
And of course she noticed the way his tired eyes appeared before hers during a conversation about life, and what they both want from it; a simple, big picture overview with the details, faces, and circumstances blurred in uncertainty and buried under the unknown.
A candle burned between them that night, and its light casted a glow, illuminating his kind face. She always says that his face is kind. That thought alone is deeply engrained in the recesses of her mind, and is as familiar as the sun rising each morning and setting each night. It’s as familiar to her as her own heartbeat.
But just because his face is kind, and just because she feels like their wavelengths are synced, forging an inexplicable emotional bond, it doesn’t automatically yield to a happy ever after.
“I guess some things are just bigger than us,” she told him. As much as she wanted to believe that whatever they had could supersede their differences, their opposing paths, she recognized when it was time to raise the lonely white flag in surrender.
“It does look that way. It’s probably better to accept it – it’s smarter to accept it.” She didn’t exactly grasp what was smart or not smart about that sentiment, but she begrudgingly nodded anyway.
And then, he spoke when she did not expect him to speak. “Beauty like that as no home,” he said softly. She was ready to argue, to interject, but she understood.
“I suppose you’re right. Beauty like that has no home.”
When she rode the two subways and train back that Sunday morning, thinking about his kind face, she knew it was over before anything could begin.
And now, when they do interact, their bodies naturally glide toward each other; a gravitational force at work that may as well be greater than the two of them. They’re conscious of subtle movements and placements; any beat that lingers for too long is discouraged. An imaginary line was drawn, a threshold had been solidified. Nobody wants to be the person to sidestep the invisible, yet established, barrier that was previously created. Nobody yearns to question what’s out of reach.
After all, beauty like that knows no home.