There he was, where he always is. I sit at this bench, day after day, writing, or sometimes pretending to, wondering what he's doing, or also pretending to. He sits there for hours. Watching people walk by, throw a ball with their dogs, fly a kite with their children, and eventually looks up. He stares up into the sky with a feeling of relief rushing over him. He's always adequately dressed but laughs and joins in with the games children play around the park that sits nearby. There's a leather-bound book on his lap, clasped in his hand. He never once opens it, and it makes me wonder if there's anything in fact inside of it. He could be a visual artist. The book's pages are filled with wonderfully depicted illustrations of his day-to-day life. He could be a writer, like me.
The park typically holds all sorts of events, and I naturally never partake in any of them. There are movie nights, yoga mornings, farmer's markets, baking competitions, and a few shows and art exhibits. He is most definitely more of a social being than I am, but he's never once approached me. I wonder if I come across as unapproachable or if he simply has not noticed me. I'd grown tired of wondering and started up towards him, at the bench across from mine. My strides were long, the heels of my shoes sounded much louder than usual. Did I seem hurried? I must've looked ridiculous, walking around a public park with such purpose. Even more ridiculous was that of me walking right back to my bench without ever going up to this man. I supposed I'd try again tomorrow.
As the days went by, so did my random ounce of confidence. Today, I sat down and faced the other way. My heart was constantly governing, and today I chose my mind. He was out of sight, and it felt empowering. I opened my notebook and began to write. The more I wrote, the more difficult it became to concentrate. What if he'd gone? Perhaps he thinks I'm not interested anymore. I'll never get a chance this way. I turned back around, and he was, in fact, gone. I turned back around, looking into myself as confused as ever. Was this my fault? I hope I didn't insult him. As I looked up, there he was, standing with a glass of wine in his hand. He apparently didn't even notice my having turned around. He fancied himself a drink from today's wine tasting. Wine. It's not one of my favorites, but today it might just be.
I walked up to the man serving the flights and glasses. I read the flavor profiles and decided what seemed the most palatable. "I'll have the Merlot, thank you." Merlot? Do I even know what that is? The server grabbed a bottle labeled "Jetbird," with a golden bird on it. Seemed fitting; to fly off into a new horizon today. This glass has promises of "aromas of red berries, baking spices, and violets." Sounds beautiful enough. As I took a sip and looked over at the mysterious man and his book, I felt suddenly ill. My eyes became heavy, and each blink began to slow. The sun's brightness came to a dim.
As I regained consciousness, I sat in a movie theater watching a film I knew I hated and would never see again. I look to my side, and my high school boyfriend was next to me, holding my hand. This relationship didn't end horribly, but the in-between was what hurt more. I somehow knew I didn't want to be there again, so I left the theater. I am at the wine tasting again, and I simply take another sip because the server is looking at me for approval. This time, I don't feel ill, but I've transported again. Judging by the sweet smells and music, this must be a theme park. Oh, here's my second ex-boyfriend, and he's yelling at me about something I personally don't care about anymore and walk away. This continues to happen with each sip—constant reminders of failed relationships.
I wondered what would happen if I just took one last giant gulp of this wine. Afraid of seeing every other relationship flash before my eyes one at a time, I figured seeing them all at once would be best. I sipped that last drop that sits at the bottom of the glass, staining the sides as it flows downward. I opened my eyes, one at a time. I wasn't sure what to expect. Realizing that I could, in fact, actually taste the red berries, spices, and violets, I smiled to myself. A sense of liberation came over me when I began to live in that precise moment. As if a veil that once lived over me was lifted, he looked towards my direction. There he was, as he always was, admiring something from afar. There we were, as we never have been, noticing each other's presence in complete admiration.