I first saw him over four months ago, a full month before I would understand what I had begun.
I live in a comfortable, almost sprawling apartment. There is a cosmopolitan piazza below. Every morning at 9.30 I light a cigarette and sit on the balcony, watching the life teeming beneath me. Those going to work, those more essentially lazy, emerging to have coffee or breakfast in the cafes across the way from me. I look at life and draw from it for my art. I watch a world I am simultaneously fascinated and repelled by – some know who I am and look up. At these moments I withdraw, either back into my apartment, or behind a convenient hat. Most do not know, however, and have little sense that they are being observed.
It is pleasant to watch. A million possibilities play out before me each day, combinations of lives I will never touch, never know, but may dream of, as they walk past my line of sight. It always seemed enough.
Until the day that he walked into my vision, and all sense escaped me.
What can I say of him that you will not censure? What should you not deride, after all? He was everything I was not, and that was the essential point – more essential than I realized in the beginning, and this was everything. But still, I could see, I have eyes that observe more keenly than most. It is part of my art.
Let me list the differences and you can make your judgments quickly and silently. I am used to the unspoken judgment of others, do not think you can distress me. There is nothing you can think of me I have not already thought myself. I deserve and accept it all, though I did not know this then.
He is young. At most early twenties. He is athletic in build, like the boys I would watch in the rugby games at school. He moves quickly as though time is perpetually a hound at his heels. He is alive in a way I have never been and he is beautiful, which gives him this life.
Blonde hair in the longish, fashionable style of his age. Eyes that I can see, even at a distance, are large and almost innocent. Fine features, the sleek bone structure of the middle to upper classes. Clothes that speak of reasonable money, though not affluence. A fluidity in his form, a natural elegance – even grace – that is uncommon in those of his age. Michelangelo would have painted him, or sculpted his form; he might almost have been that mythic David. And I, the Goliath on the balcony, yearning to be struck down by even a glance back to me.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved