Someone I used to know

South Florida is a small town. At least, the part where I live.

We’re a narrow land mass with a big-ass swamp that’s situated between two oceans. Our population really only lives on either side of alligator-land. In other words, if you want to run into someone, you really only need think of them and they’ll appear.

I ran into him this week. I was looking cute that day. Not as cute as two days earlier. But, you know, not hideous. Hallelujah.

We were grabbing coffee from the same joint on Thursday morning. How we both picked the same place at the same time is beyond me. But you know, I don’t question it anymore.

I had a bit of spunk that day (new, cute dress and new, cute shoes will do that to you). He seemed so happy to see me. He was on his way out but hung around for a couple of minutes to catch up.

I was not oblivious to him looking me up and down and up and down again. The man never was shy about admiring me. I always felt absolutely gorgeous when I was near him. And that’s saying a lot since I think he’s hotter than Jon Bon Jovi. (Did I just type that? BLASPHEMY!)

Just as a reminder of how it’s the little things I loved about him, I got a drop of coffee on my hand as I was affixing the lid. I didn’t even have time to blink and I saw him handing me a napkin. I don’t even know where he GOT it from … he’s just always that fast and thinking that far ahead.

It was effortless, the way he took care of me sometimes. The way he does, still.

We parted ways shortly afterward. Didn’t talk about anything personal. Chatted about what an idiot Mitt Romney is, what a vile excuse of humanity Paul Ryan is, and whether Ben Bernanke would launch another round of monetary easing that day and what I thought he would do instead. (And I was wrong. Oh, Ben, you’re not saving any ammo for when we plunge off the fiscal cliff!)

I missed that. I missed everything right at that moment. I don’t have anybody like him in my life anymore. I don’t have anybody in my life, period. Not a nearby friend with an ounce of reliability or even the hint of a man who measured up to what he once was to me.

But I smiled and wished him a wonderful day and went on my merry little way.

Now, we all know this is someone I cared about deeply, and will always care about. And while he will always be a bright spot in my otherwise-colorless little life, I couldn’t help but feel sad. For him. He will always be a vibrant part of me, but he seemed like a sad old man that day.

And maybe that attracted me to him in the first place. Just a sweet, sad soul hoping for something wonderful to happen. He reminded me so much of my grandfather. I was so worried I’d be the one to hurt him. Never ever dreamed it would be the other way around.

“Tell me how to use
The love that people say you make.”

— The Avett Brothers, “Laundry Room”

Sure, he brightened up considerably as we talked. And I’ve always loved how we lit up around each other. It’s a shame that’s all we’re reduced to are chance meetings and an ocean full of distance and regrets.

I blame him that we can’t be friends. But I thank God for my spark, my smile, my resolve to be cheerful and my ability to turn away and keep on going without looking back that day.

I’d wanted him more but I think he misses me more. And while that doesn’t make things even here in the end, I’ll count that as enough. Till next time, since there always seems to be one. …

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