Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The change

They had never actually worked together. But there had been many times they passed each other around the place, the way one inevitably does when sharing the same space. Those instances were fleeting, their minds elsewhere, and often they didn’t register each other’s presence even at a subliminal level as they went about their work.

He noticed she often held a downward gaze when they passed, not uneasily as some might have thought but rather he felt her mind was elsewhere: far away and out of the building as if unconstrained by routine, and commitment and time. This was not a dreamy look but one of the deepest contentment. He longed to know what this place looked like and wondered if it could be possible to be there, not to share it with her for that would be intrusive and he was sure that the solitude was a large part of the appeal. But just to see how she was and she moved in such a different domain.

But after that day when they talked more than they ever had he found it was he who changed not her. Quite in contrast he became weighed by a downward gaze, no longer could he pass her as he had done countless times before. He was not afraid but a part of him trembled. So strange for a man some 15 years older and that fact made him irritated more with himself than with her. He longed to look into her eyes in search of some recognition of a new-found understanding and, possibly even the beginning of love.

For their exchange had meant more to him than she could possibly imagine and was borne of a life where moving at the earliest signs of any commitment became a lifestyle. Despite the roots he and his brother had learned to take with them he yearned for the quality that had always evaded him, the way it is so often with people who long for the one thing they are destined not to find.

Such desperation he knew in time would take its toll in his own life and transform a relationship that began as something gently beautiful into something twisted and disfigured, just as his growing awkwardness had triumphed into being despite his tortured struggle to contain and confine it to the depths within him.

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