I see her pretty much every day, the girl with the pink and white dress. She sits on a low stool, or maybe an overturned milk crate – I can’t see below her midriff because she’s surrounded by flowers. Many are yellow, bright like the sun but fuller, deeper; so deep the color itself seems tangible. The rest sit in neat bouquets, splashes of red and purple and white sprouting from water-stained buckets. She’s selling them, for how much I don’t know. I wonder if she’s had any takers on this day. I wonder, for all the flowers she has sold to the husbands and lovers that have come to her, if she has ever been given any.
I look closely at her face. I do this every time I see her because I want to know what lies beneath her unblemished cinnamon features. I want to understand the thoughts that lurk behind the expression that I can not clearly read. She may be lost in a daydream; but those seeking direction and those deep into the sharpened machinations of their desires sometimes look very much alike. She harbors a tint of worry in her face, though the subject of her concern (if that is what it is) is a mystery to me; it could be herself, or the young girl standing coyly in the shadows. Perhaps someone she knows, maybe loves, has gone away, a promise to return though at some point in our lives we learn that a promise is not something we can hold in our hand.
I stare as the seconds tick past. Today, just like a hundred other days, I can not even tell if she is looking at me. She was, I think, a second ago. Or else she is about to. Yes, it must be that I have, unintentionally, drawn her out of her daydream. She is bringing her eyes to mine. But I will never be able to meet her gaze. Nor will I ever speak with her. We existed together in a moment – a moment now gone, never to be relived.
It is this thought that eats at me.
So many questions I wished I’d asked. So many images of what might be, or what might have been. I fall into the perfection of her skin and wonder: Does she have someone – to hold her hand, to give her flowers? I study her dress, the contours of her breasts, and ask if love is the dream that molds the expression on her face, that colors the depths of her eyes. Has she given herself to someone? Is she pondering that inevitable day, laying down her hopes for what it all might eventually become? If I had made different choices, could I have been the one?
We crossed paths for just a brief moment, six long years ago. I am sure she does not remember. I might have forgotten her long ago too, if not for the picture that hangs on my wall, of her and her flowers and the young girl standing in the shadows.
I don’t know why I think of her as I do. I can’t explain my desire to know what she is doing now, what dreams she is living, or still waits for, or has abandoned. That expression somehow exists between emotions - and I want to know which way it has gone. I want to see her face again. I want to see the happiness I’ve wished for her for six years.
I don’t know why I think this way about her. I only know that I do.