He walked past me, and I immediately sensed the very air around me transform. It was not visible. Nothing physically moved. There was no sudden gust of wind, no autumns leaves drifting by the window, no violins lamenting suddenly. Yet the very 'reality' around me seem to disintegrate and unravel.
It broke open and let him out from the very recesses of my memory.
I looked at him, to the face that was forever engraved in my mind, created and recreated endlessly, the face that I idolized, searchingly, for that fleeting moment of recognition. But it never came.
I was 16. He had the softest brown eyes I have ever seen. An angelic face that the horrors of reality only left with a look of certain melancholy and visible gravity. His skin glowed with this iridescent light, that shook hearts to their very sinews. He spoke little, sometimes smiled and and I worshipped the quicksand he walked on.
I never allowed myself to think of how much he moves me. My very viscera hummed with torturous tunes and ecstatic song, every time he stood next to me.
If he wished to cut my chest open and wrench my heart out, I would have let him, even if to just throw it at his feet.
But my self-preservation instinct would not allow my mind to be fully cognizant of what my heart and viscera were singing for. I would always slip into this metaphysical state every time we talked. The few moments where I was in his presence were atemporal experiences that can not be explained by any connection or bearing on reality. Out of Nowhere they come and into the great Unknown they go.
The fortune of having him never lasted more than a few months. After which he transferred to another university and we never stayed in touch. He, out of being a heterosexual man, and me out of self-preservation.
Until that moment of the 'second-encounter'. There he was, in all his heterosexual glory. His father, his mother, his brother, and a child, clutching his shoulders and a plain-looking, not-so-very-intelligent wife. Patriarchy was alive and well, and his father passed down his legacy and he is creating his own.
But gone is the iridescent light, the pleading brown eyes, the angelic face, all gone. There was only a harassed look, and an overwhelming feeling of disappointment that left no space for anything else.
Was having a child not an extraordinary blessing? Was having a wife not the ultimate reassurance of this virile masculinity? Was heading a family not the true exulted position for a man like him?
Did he not find joy in fulfilling his destiny as a man?
Was being ensnared by patriarchy the final death of his innocence? Was it not a source of endless pride that he was a living-giving, perfectly "functioning" man? Were not the values of bourgeois respectability what they promised to be?
I was always consoled by the idea, that somewhere in the world, there is someone like him. He would not cross my mind very often and I never tried to conjure his memory on purpose. In certain moments, when 'heart', 'love' or 'destiny' were mentioned the image of him found its way to my consciousness. And my body remembered what it was like to experience his presence and to have occupied the same physical space as he did.
He was an ideal, and shall remain as such.