I couldn’t quite explain the shudder that ran its course through my veins from the moment you told me your name. It was fairly common, biblical, one I’d heard many people go by. Perhaps it was the way you expressed it with in that gentle tone that radiated the warmth of a cuddle. It imprinted on my mind like a bolt of lightning that grazes the skin with its beautiful grasping pattern. The same electricity that fizzed through my nerves as we danced the night away to the merry melodies of the ceilidh.
It was no surprise you caught my eye. Red, after all, has always been my favourite colour. It is the colour of my aura, radiating warmth and passion and unceasing energy. My undying flame, burning fierce and ferocious. I too was wearing my lucky maroon shirt. Many cultures believe the colour to bring good fortune. I think back to all the events that transpired before that fateful night which almost prevented our encounter. Perhaps those cultures are right to believe in such a phenomenon, to be so fortunate as to dance the night away with you, despite all odds.
I promised myself I wouldn’t fall for you immediately. “Play it cool”, “Just be casual”, “It’s just a bit of fun, don’t take it too seriously”, I’d drone to myself repeatedly in my ritual to avoid disappointment. I never imagined you to break through my ironclad walls with such speed and swiftness by the end of our first date. Rendered helpless by your blossoming laughter and sunshine spirit that could bring life to stoic stones.
Never could I imagine you to inspire me more than the very heroes I hold great admiration for, as we gazed up at the stars and spoke of grand dreams on our second date. Never had I seen the flares of the stars reflected from my own excitement as I did in you when I shared my hopes and ambitions with you.
I’m not one to believe in soulmates, I truly ridicule that idea. Statistically speaking, there are of course people more suited for one another than the rest. Nor do I believe in love at first. The idea is absurd, illogical, paradoxical. Love is a connection, not a feeling. But what I felt for you, filled me with a determination that no one had given me before. I knew I wanted this connection with you in my own future, beyond the death of existence itself. I hoped to have that very connection with you one day.
But the universe is as cruel as it is beautiful, it is a sadistic author who derives pleasure from its character’s woes. It taunts me when I find love and bestows a plague upon the earth to keep us apart. We were adamant at first, refusing to let no obstacle dare keep us apart. Inspired by the song of your people, I was prepared to walk 500 miles, and even 500 more to be with you just once more. But the illusion of that hope was too shattered when we realised it was more than just our own lives we would endanger. To be selfish in such a time would ruin the admiration we had of each other’s selflessness.
“It would be easier to be just friends in a weird time like this”. Each word with the sting of a thousand killer bees. But I was helpless to answer with nothing more than a half-hearted agreement, covered up by a melancholic smile, swiftly changing the conversation to bury down the burning agony. What more could I have said?
I wish it was as simple as letting you go. Change is inevitable – that is the only constant in the universe. Friends may become strangers overnight, just as quickly as strangers become friends. Yet nothing renders me with petrifying fear as the thought of someone seeing all the beauty of existence within me one day, and no more than an empty void the next. The thought of going from being someone’s entire universe to being reduced to a discarded memory.
Sometimes I wonder if you exist as nothing more than a dream I once had of a time I was finally in bliss. I wonder if there is exists a person behind the chains of messages if there is a person behind the muffled connection of my phone, or just my own words echoing back to me in a different tone. Though you’ve imprinted within myself memories of us together across the Sistine Chapel of my mind, the images of you are slowly fading as time decays the imprints left behind.
But etched in stone among the painted ceilings slowly fading away in my memory, I always recall the image of you in the red dress, as I reach for your hand to take the final dance of the night, and suddenly your image sharpens vividly. As the warm shudder surges through my veins once again when I remember your hibiscus smile illuminating the dance hall. Yet that night seems so distant, I wonder if I confuse my memories with my dreams
Even if it were a dream, I will still hold it as dear as a treasured memory. I struggle to piece together words to sound out, as the smile that streaks across my face refuses to let loose at the sound of your voice over the phone, wanting our conversations to never end. I struggle to piece together my stuttering stammer when you say goodnight, afraid of the days to endure until I can dance to the melody of your enchanting voice once more. Dreading if the day should come when there is nothing between us but static.
It hurts knowing I cannot tell you how much I miss you. Every conversation I conceal myself behind a barbed fence of witty remarks and apathetic jokes. Painfully grabbing on to hold back my true feelings from escaping. How could I bear down such a burden of confusion to you, especially in these uncertain times? It's easier for me to bear this weight on my own.
But my wait will soon be over. September brings the harvests of the seeds sown in the summer’s draconian heat. I scratch a tally across my walls, imprisoned among the miles that divide us, counting the sleeps left till I can once again return to your side, that I could once again wrap myself in the comfort of your euphoric embrace. The tension weaves its noose around my neck, as I anxiously wait to see if our love will blossom and bloom, or if it withers away in a rainfall of autumn leaves.
Whether we are to be, or not to be, whether we spend our eternity together, or we drift apart just as the earth tears its lands in tremors for new terrains to emerge; the memory of that first night is etched into the stone chambers of my mind. Etched into the image of you – the girl in the red dress.