Musky. She thought to herself as she took one more whiff off the tester on the shelf. He is going to love this. She paid for the aftershave and walked out of the store. It was his birthday today and she wanted to do something nice for him. But considering the distance between them and the trouble with clashing schedules, they weren’t meeting this time.
It was windy and while she struggled with her wild messy hair, she yearned for a steaming cup of coffee and uninterrupted internet. Sitting by the window watching the people walk past, she blogged as she always did. All her thoughts focused on him and how she was happy being with him. Four blissful years, she wrote and paused for a sip of Mocha. It couldn’t get better than this… I am so glad he was born. I will not want anyone more than him. She continued in this confident vein.
A new visitor on her blog has commented on her previous entry. She read the name and her heart stopped. A pimply shy face, courteous silent encounters, Piano lessons, church, corridors. It came to her in waves. From a distant lifetime she could barely remember. She was a child back then. So was he.
She heard him play Moonlight Sonata. She remembered her own poorer, plainer, transposed rendition. Then she wept over coffee. She wept for the beauty. She wept for the loss. She wept for the helpless passage of time.
It had begun to grow dark outside. It was raining now.
Walking in the rain, she remembered his timid stuttered voice reading passages from the Count of Monte Christo. Seated alone in the library, they shared books, read the same pages, he struggled with his shyness. She pored over equations and formulae while he seemed lost in his secret little world. They shared the same pew in church. When once she scraped her knees, he helped her up and tended to her wound and comforted her. He looked out for her when the nasty class-bully gave her a hard time. He faded away when she was safe and happy. He played the Moonlight Sonata for her one afternoon. And then he was gone.
And tonight, two decades later, he comes by as a visitor. With her Moonlight Sonata replayed. With rain pouring down on her Mocha. With wet memories dripping of nostalgia and adolescence. Bringing an unknown pain from somewhere long ago.
Drenched, teary and exhausted, she tossed the musky aftershave into the trash can.