I am walking along, laughing with my friends, enjoying the colorful sites and amazing smells of the Turkish market. The canal is the perfect backdrop for this onslaught of my senses; fruits, breads, cheeses, flowers, a cacophony of smells surround me. The vendors are hawking their wares and the street musicians are playing guitar quietly on the opposite corner. Then I see you.
You look like you have been having a deep conversation, running your hands through your hair in frustration like you do. You are wearing those same ugly bright blue pants you had on when I last saw you, and of course, a mismatched patterned shirt. I watch as you smile at your girlfriend and look up. You are beautiful.
I am frozen in place, standing on the street corner, the sensory overload I was experiencing comes crashing around me and everything stops, everything is now slow motion. My friends look towards where I am staring and wonder what’s going on with me. I am so surprised to see you. Of course, this is your neighborhood, but in a city of 3.5 million people, what are the chances, on a Friday afternoon that we’re both at this corner, at the same time?
You don’t see me. That’s probably a good thing, but it makes this suck even more. What would you do if you did see me? You broke up with me two weeks ago. Your girlfriend asked you to close your relationship for a while. She needs the confidence of having you all to herself for right now, in this stressful time of her life. You agreed. You told me when we met, if this situation ever arose, that she would be your priority. She is. So today, if you saw me, how could you react? Maybe a small smile and a wave? But mostly you would have to ignore me. That would suck even more.
She never knew about me anyway. You had a “don’t ask don’t tell” open relationship. So, when she asked you to close it, she didn’t even know you had been seeing me for two months. She didn’t know that we had somehow, in a very short period of time, developed a bond so beautiful, that I am now paralyzed, standing on this corner, tears flowing down my cheeks, simply because: I. See. You.
Would she have felt differently about asking you to give me up, if she had actually known you were giving someone up? Or would it have only sped up the process? Maybe she would have asked you to close your relationship sooner? Felt threatened by our love? Maybe that would have been better. Maybe then I wouldn’t have loved you at all.
My friend takes my arm, tucks it under his, and suggests we grab a cup of coffee, and rest for a minute. I barely hear him as I watch you throw a long beautiful leg over your bike, and ride away. I linger and watch her do the same as she follows you down the street, catching up and riding companionably beside you.
He asks me, “Who was that guy?” How to describe our short love affair? Highlighted by incredible shared first experiences and making slow languid, love in the afternoons. We went to our first sex clubs together, sharing that incredible experience very early on, our bond of trust strong from the beginning. I can’t share that with my friend, not right now, so instead I say, “I loved him. Just last week.”
Then, I turn and walk away.