I often experience deep relationships with other people. Just as often, the other person is not aware. I loved her before I saw her, maybe even before she was born.

Her hair three inches on her shoulder, full, rich, waving with a life of its own, white like high gloss white craft paper, a sharp contrast to her oiled saddle leather eyebrows. Sharp brown eyes sunk in a pale ochre palette.

She had a ritual, there behind the register, when a customer made her wait for change, or the transfer of money onto a payment card or maybe for a daughter across the store puzzling over a snack for later in school. Stepping back, she’d flip her hair right then left chin down, her small ochre hand sensuously raking her hair from her face up and back. Hands come to the counter, she’d rock a little, prepared for the customer’s next move.

The ballet, a thing of natural beauty like the moment I glance an eagle float against a winter sky, or maybe the rain singing on my umbrella, the moon chasing the stars across the early morning darkness.

In the chaos and clamor of predawn shoppers, most heading to work, crowding her for their coffee and a breakfast sandwich, some thinking ahead, a hoagie held tightly, still others pointing, demanding cigarettes, I stand away holding her in the moment, watching the dance only I can see, me, an enchanted traveler.

I glance the faces pushing in around me, all a degree of stoic, many gripping their presents, the phone devouring attention, all ignorant of the beauty playing out paces away, like those who never look to the sky seeing the eagle float by or think the rain an inconvenience, a nuisance.

In those fleeting moments, I loved her wholly, deeply, without reservation, as much as any human being could love another human being. Months would pass, the universe granting me the gift often.

Then, she was gone.


October Ferguson




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