You and I have never met many times before.
Our paths might have crossed once or twice, standing in a line, passing in the street. But, against incredible odds, we miss each other every time.
Accidental strangers who just happened to miss their cue. Neither having any idea that the other even exists. It’s hard not to wonder where you are right now. Veering away, in a tangent, in some parallel universe. It’s hard not to glance at a stranger in a crowd and imagine the life you might have shared if things had been different. To feel the pang of a missed connection as you carry on your separate ways. Leaving nothing but an echo of something that might have been.
She often daydreamed about the past; about other people in the past. What it would have been like to know her Grandfather, who died when her mother was nine. What her best friend was like as a kid; if they would have been soul sisters even then. She also wondered about him. Thinking about a moment, one that could have existed in another version of another life.
She imagined herself stepping back in time; back 12 years. And then stepping forward into a second hand bookstore on a Friday afternoon after school finished.
As soon as she stepped in, the smell filled her lungs with a thousand stories. That smell, the one that comforted her as a child when she would secretly stay up past her bedtime and read while her parents argued in the living room. She spent hours, lost in this world of books. While her other friends were at shopping centers, lusting after expensive bags and shoes. She always found herself being drawn here. Even if she was all alone.
She liked that there wasn’t any other people around, it made her feel like it was her own private collection. As always, she had spent much longer than she realised, and when she looked up she saw that it had turned dark outside, but she didn’t care.
That was when she saw him. Not long after, looking through the isles, he saw her, nervously looking away when he had caught her looking at him. It was like a silly little game of cat and mouse. Silly little games like these are a luxury. It requires curiosity and patience. Only possible because it was a time before her body and heart had been broken, and a time before he had lost his faith in love.
Before they built their walls high enough to keep safe and isolated. Before they were broken.
Eveyone knew that there was a corner on the mezzanine floor that had been notorious for making out; a place for the lonely and the lost.
It began to rain outside and the smell of rain filled the air, mixed with the earthy smell of books, it was intoxicating.
She was painfully shy, not how he would have known her now. People would walk all over her, this was before she realised that her light attracted moths.
Before she realised that she just wanted to give people love, but that they would bleed her dry of it.
It was before he had begun to close himself off to the world. Before all his energy, hopes, and dreams were overshadowed by his work. Before he stopped believing.
The game of cat and mouse had led them to that special corner of the bookstore.
There was a soft patter of rain on the glass window to their right and she looked over to it.
His hand reached for hers, interlocking fingers. Her skin felt so soft in his hands. He looked down at her big doe eyes, and he smiled a crooked smile at how they remided him of bambi.
His smile made her feel safe.
She wasn’t a slut or a whore. She was just a girl, and he was just a young man.
This was a time before they had begun hiding behind their sexual perversions, the ones they used as a coping mechanism for the lack of love that had followed them into adulthood.
His thumb touched her bottom lip, and instinctively she closed her eyes.
His hand then traced down past the collar of her white school shirt, down each button.
Her heart was beating so deeply that he could see each beat vibrate through her chest.
Gently outlining his fingers over her navy blue tartan skirt, he reached between her legs; heat radiating.
Her soft cotton panties were now damp with her arousal. His fingers circling and rubbing.
She let out a quite girl like moan as her eyes flung open and widened. Staring deep into his.
She tried to evade his gaze, but his eyes held hers there, not letting her look away. She struggled with her shyness, but almost inherently wanted to please him, so she fought it and kept them there, with his.
There she was, this precious innocent girl, in the palm of his hands. Her shyness aroused him in a new way, one that he had never considered. Her inexperience, and uncertainty brought out something deep inside him, someone he never thought he could be. A protector, a nurturer; a lover.
Even then, she was a greedy, needy girl. Always wanting more, and she wanted him inside her, but her words failed her. They kissed deeply and all he could taste was the strawberry lip balm on her lips. She pulled away and softly whispered “Please”, her cheeks burned as she realised how forward she had been, how her body seemed to override her brain.
He picked up a book, and pulled out a pencil from his pocket. Inside he wrote a number, his number, and told her to call him. She giggled, and had often wondered about the numbers that had been penciled inside these books, she certainly never thought that this would be the reason for one of them. They were connected like pages bound in a book. Two unique stories colliding, out of time. She would never forget about him. Just like he would never forget about her.
Maybe someday, someone would write a story about them and it would end up on a dusty shelf, in a second hand bookstore.