I WAS WALKING down a familiar street where all color have leeched out when I saw you.
There was nothing spectacular about the setting—it was a street where all looked the same: a disjointed and desolate fantasy setting from an apocalyptic tale. Color was rare in this little corner of the word: it was slaps of terrible shades of beige over other terrible shades of beige. (I HATE THAT COLOR.)
An unlikely memory struck: the villages in Northern Egypt, with screaming pink and green three-story houses standing out defiant against bleak fawn sand and bleak fawn sky, protesting the lack of color. In the city, defiance wasn’t as nearly as widespread: the buildings jutted out into the sky in awkward angles and uncomfortable poses, like ill-fitting artificial limbs. If you didn’t know any better, you’d say Cairo was built by a little three year old kid who was playing with his building blocks (which is partially true.)
It all seemed so natural and habitual—to see you; like something second nature, something that would happen so often that I wouldn’t notice it anymore—that I hadn’t registered it was you I thought I was seeing. And with the thought of you came the realization that, no, it wasn’t you.
Stop appearing everywhere. It’s disconcerting.
You are always there. You’re floating along the tunes of a familiar song. You’re at the back of the bus on Sunday morning as that very song comes on. You’re standing beside me and waiting eagerly in the face of a tale I think you would find hilarious. I remember you and your smile and I can almost hear your voice: racing a sentence, cut off because you tumbled on a laugh, the end of a word lost. I see all of you everywhere: your laugh, your words, you smile; always there, on a Friday night by the laptop screen, or here, between the lines of a book you’ll probably never read.
Now you are here. Into the deep hours of the night as I read a book, you are here. I think of how this night wouldn’t have seemed so big or lonely if you were here. I would have talked to you, and you to me, and suddenly nothing would seem so important or so scary anymore.
I am seeing you everywhere and I am starting to wonder if I’d imagined you all along. You seem so incredibly otherworldly, so ghostly, that I am almost half-sure that I made you up. Let me let you on a little secret: I’m worried I’ll forget what you look like. I am worried that there will be a day where you will be nothing more than a figure out of a hazy dream.
It deeply perplexes me, to think that we live in the same world, in the the same city—your existence remains a puzzle to me. I am already thinking I pulled you out of a series of daydreams.
Soon, I will stop remembering how real you were. I will be almost sure that I stole you out of some tale. I’ll have to convince myself over and over that you’re there and you’re real.
And here’s another secret, too: I don’t want to forget, I don’t want to doubt, because you were the most hopeful thing I have ever come across.