You’re stuck in an elevator with a person from your past. Write this scene. He he he! The majority of this was written a few years ago when I was at a low point. I’ve changed some things, embellished others to add some depth, and just decided to see if it would work. I’m sort of happy with it (and not quite as melancholy anymore).
When I got in the elevator she looked up at me and smiled. I stopped breathing – I knew that smile. Even though it had been many a long year since I had seen it, I knew it. I had thought over and over again what I would say should I see her again, and here was chance. I was not going to let this opportunity slide away.
“Please, don’t say a word. I need to tell you this all at once or I’ll never be able to say it …
“Have you missed me? Do you even remember who I am? How long has it been? Nearly 17 years since I last saw your smile. Almost 26 since I saw it for the first time. More than half of my life ago; yet I still remember the way your brown linen trousers fluttered as you walked towards me. I was too shy to make any lasting eye contact; the briefest of glances as you approached was enough to tell you that I noticed you and was left speechless. For your part, of which I will always be thankful, you managed to get me to say “hello” with your delicate smile and softer words.
“Hours. That is all we had together, separated by nearly a decade and thousands of miles and the frivolity of life. Twenty, possibly 30 at best. And yet of all my loves, you were, are, and will be the deepest, the truest, the most heart-wrenching. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of you. Most times I try and force myself to smile. Such as it is, the melancholia surrounding your and my existence should lead me to tears – of joy for meeting you, of elation for holding you in the rain while you kissed me, and of sadness for never following through and showing you my words were honest. Other times I do smile, a genuine full-mouthed smile, the only time I ever do that kind of smile and nothing from our past can erase it from my face. It is pure, unfiltered, and raw – encompassing everything we had in our briefest of encounters.
“Do you think of me? Do you ever wonder what might have happened had I actually got out of my truck when I drove to Jasper to meet you? You didn’t know that did you? I got your letter saying you would be in Jasper to go skiing. I was living with my girlfriend at the time, very much in love. But the lure of you, of us, of what could have, should have been was too strong. I drove all night to get to Jasper for the morning, your mobile number in my phone. I didn’t call. I wanted to. God did I want to. I wanted to tell you over and over again that I loved you. That I had loved you from the first moment you smiled at me. But I didn’t want to do it like that. I didn’t want to tell you I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you while my girlfriend slept in our bed at home. That would have been so unfair to both of you.
“Do you ever think back to that night outside your brother’s house in Wales in September 2000? The rain pelting down, the mist from our breath enveloping each other as we both refused to say goodnight. I was drunk on you. I wanted to imbibe myself of nine long years of missing you. We held each other, trembling from the wind, trembling from the overwhelming sense that there was no other place we were meant to be. I still remember the curves of your lips, the way you’d tease me with a lingering bite of my lower lip as I pulled back from a kiss. I remember the way your hand fit exactly inside mine, your fingers entwined and locked as much as our lips and hearts were. As long as the years between our meetings were, the hours we were together passed as quickly as minutes.
“Four nights later we met again, the delight on my face obvious for everyone in the pub to see when you walked through the door. The first thing you said was you told your mum you had seen me again. You said she was pleased, and asked you to marry me; even though neither of us had mentioned it before. She took to me that first night all those years ago. She welcomed me into your home, this relative stranger just back from a date with her only daughter. How she remembered me I have no idea – although perhaps you talked about me as much as I did about you in our early days.
“We drove to a quiet little restaurant in an even smaller town than the one we were in and spent hours laughing, holding hands, talking, and leaving a permanent scar on each other. When you drove me home and we sat outside in your car, I had no idea then that it would be the last time I would see you. Everything was telling me to invite you inside, we’d be alone for an hour or more, but I didn’t. I didn’t want an hour. I wanted a lifetime. We talked about girlfriends and boyfriends and your boyfriends’ knack of asking you to marry them – none successfully. When I ventured “we should get married”, only half-jokingly (actually 100% serious when I think about it now) and you responded, “Yes we should”, half-jokingly as well, we should have planned our lives together. For some reason, we didn’t.
“The years have passed since that final kiss, but they have not lessened its effect on me. I want you to know that you are the reason I am who I am today. You gave me a voice when I was crippled by my stutter. You gave me confidence when I was embarrassed by my bow-leggedness and pigeon-toes. You gave me belief, hope, and the courage to be the man I only thought I could be in the short stories I would write. You gave me a love they only write about in books and praise in the movies. You are the person that all other people I meet are measured against. You will always be, my one regret.
“I have been in love since meeting you, to various degrees as is the nature of the beast. At times, my continued love for you, and my adoration of you, has hindered and helped me in my relationships. The shadow you have left over me casts an intimidating barrier to potential suitors. It took me a long time to accept this fear and judge others without it.
“I just want you to know that I still love you. I always will. And during those random times in your day when you break out in a smile, that’s just me thinking of you, thinking of us, and remembering the only time in my life when everything seemed to make perfect sense.”
Her eyes met mine and I shivered. I wanted to lean in to kiss her, but she smiled and tilted her head slightly, “hablas Español?”
I reached over and pressed P3 on the touchscreen. Shit, I guess it wasn’t her.