Whenever she passed by, there was this scent around her. She smelled like a meadow in spring – field flowers, tender earth and moist grass. Everything about her was refreshing. There was the way she walked – like her body bore no weigh at all. The way she smiled – like every person around her was dearer to her than the next. The way she talked – effortlessly. Each word out of her mouth felt like part of a song – her voice so soft, her tone so tender, her words caring, taking everything around her into account, before she would utter any sound.
I admired her with every fibre of my being.
Everything came so easy to her. It did not to me.
I wanted to be her. I wanted to be with her. I was not sure at all what I wanted exactly. All I knew was I did not want to be me. Being me meant I could never be her. Nor could I ever be with her either.
My voice felt loud and clumsy. My jokes, my tone, often inappropriate. My heart was closed to any interaction out of my usual circle of acquaintances. Uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable with my daily life, and with the idea of change too. I was safe that way though. Nothing ever happened to me. I was stuck in a routine. A shielding bubble I could never escape. I would never move away. I would never cross a road without looking left and right. I would never love. Let alone be loved.
Everyone loved her.
I wanted to be more like her.
One day, I would talk to her and ask her about her secret. There had to be one. She liked everyone. She ought to like me too. She would talk to me. I just had to find the perfect way to approach her. Make an impression. First, I had to study approaches. How did people successfully interact? I had to plan my moves carefully. Rushing into this would only ruin all of my chances. I was always told I was a failure. I had to prove them wrong. I had to make this work. I did not want to feel like a creep or anything. Though the fact that it crossed my mind probably meant that I was a bit of a creep. There was no way around it to make my way to her.
So I waited and observed. Watched and learnt. After a while I knew everything visible about her. I followed her home and stood there covered by the veil of darkness, observing her shadowed ways in her apartment. I always kept the proper distances. Making sure my face would become familiar but not intrusive. On the subway, our eyes would meet sometimes. Sometimes she would smile and I would lower my gaze. Until one day…
One day, she dropped her scarf. I rushed to it as soon as I saw. I picked it up and breathed it in. It all came rushing back. The scent of her freedom. The rush of open-hearted ways. Her lack of expectations. There I hesitated for a second. Should I save it as a keepsake or bring it to her?
For a second I pondered, and watched her walk ahead. Then I rushed ahead pushing through the crowd to reach her.
It was my perfect way in. I had to take it.