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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Here's to the Ones We Didn't Kiss

I hate it when I do this.

It's really late and I get this idea in my head that I can't shake until I write it down, get it out of my system.

Then I can try to fall asleep.

Tonight I watched the DVD Elizabeth with Ms. Wellspring, and part way through the movie, one of the actors in the film reminded me of someone I once knew, someone who I was infatuated with and with whom the feeling was reciprocated. The romance was short-lived, and I really can't remember why it ended before it began anymore.

I had completely forgotten about this person until tonight. It bothered me that I could not even remember his name until a few minutes ago. And then I remembered a little bit more, puzzle pieces starting to reassemble themselves into a picture again.

***

Those people we almost kissed. Or maybe we did once. Maybe we brushed by them in the hall at school or at work. Maybe our fingers almost touched their sleeve. Maybe they looked at us when they thought we wouldn't notice. Or vice versa. Maybe they walked us out to our car, at night. Maybe the sky was dark except for the pool of light of a single streetlamp. Maybe or maybe not.

These people are our blank slates. We wonder, we imagine what they would have been like. What it would have felt like. But we'll never know.

The road not taken.

***

It's funny that I could not remember his name or what happened to him. But then the rest did come back. Years later, I received his resume for a position we were looking to fill at work, and all of a sudden, my heart started pounding in my chest as I read his name, his address, his qualifications. My boss asked me to interview him because she was too busy, and I did.

We exchanged pleasantries, two strangers to perform an interview. He was married (so was I at the time) and his wife had just had a baby. I remarked on his past from his resume, and asked him--as nonchalantly as I could--if I seemed familiar. He said he didn't remember me. My heart fell and I went on with the interview, secretly crushed. He left our office with my promise to get back to him.

The next day I got an email from him. He apologized for pretending not to remember me. He said he could never forget me. He said he did not want to be considered for the job. And he wished me well, always.

So we are someone else's blank slate, too, sometimes. We just may never know whose blank slates we are.

4 comments:

Johanna March 9, 2008 at 10:34 AM  

These open-ended, unfinished, unresolved "dangling threads" are the stuff of life's mystery. They inspire and torment us, firing imaginations and stirring up that melancholic, creative, restless state.

They are gifts.

They are burdens.

And they are unavoidable.

When we find out that specter felt the same about us all along, it is definitely crushing. And what to do with what's the feeling that's left is the biggest mystery of all.

Red shoes March 9, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

Wow. There are a few of those people out there for everyone...the almosts. Amazing.

tangobaby March 10, 2008 at 7:21 PM  

Hi Johanna,

Count me in as one of those people who like to have their imaginations fired up. As much as I want to have been able to go down some paths a little farther than I did, in this case it was helpful to know that we felt the same way about each other.

In life, as in tango, sometimes things feel so one-sided and you don't know where you stand. Mysteries can be hard to have patience with.

Dear Red Shoes/Woman with Incredible Library,

Thank you for the gorgeous poem you posted in relation to this post.

I felt like you found that poem just for me, like a little present.

poet April 23, 2009 at 10:01 PM  

This is very true. I have gone down one of these paths pretty far and turned back in spite of my desire to explore further, in order not to destroy what I had. It was good. It was bittersweet and melancholy and probably not as unique as it felt. And damn, it still hurts. Of course, the whole story is inextricably connected to tango. Caused by tango. Begun and finished with tango. And now I read about such a scenario in a blog by someone concerned with tango. It's nice which patterns life creates. Thanks for this post.

Greetings from the other side of the bay,
poet