She doesn’t know where he is.
It is probably better for her not to know. For words come as sporadic as the rains in the valleys. Is it the way that the wind pulls the water to and fro, or just the connection between them?
It was the 20th of March when she first became aware of his existence. SenseDirection, his name was reminiscent of the wilderness, someone lost in a vast empty world, a sailboat drifting in the ocean completely unsure of where to go. His smile, as wide as a river, like a soft glow that invites people into his being. If only for a moment, it was freedom.
It was a Thursday night. The feeling of insomnia hung high over her head, like a slow suicide sucking the life blood out of her. She was listening to Of Montreal's "The past is a grotesque animal," the music was like a thin string that had wrapped itself around her heart so tightly that her face began to get pale. She clicked the message in her inbox, "You have incredible taste in literature, is Anna Karenina your favorite Tolstoy? What about a favorite Murukami?" No simple and meaningless hellos, introductions, vain compliments about appearance, the conversation hit the softest corners of her heart since the moment it began. She realized that conversation is very similar to chess, you need an opponent, a Roland for an Oliver, this is the only way to make it all worthwhile and interesting. They continued exchanging messages with often obscure, and at times simple language. Each message came in like an overwhelming wave of possibilities rushing over her, tiptoeing the line of reality and the mental realm inside her mind.
She turned off her phone and walked to the bathroom to take a shower. Only to find a numb facing staring back at her in the mirror. She knew then that her greatest fear was to be killed by loneliness, to not have an opponent. Among the crowds, her vision saw through the sky and concrete buildings, it was fixated on something far, far away.
“What I took away from his books is a longing to meet strangers at hotels and listen to their stories.”
“I often find myself missing/remembering entire strangers, people I came across and never forgot.”
“People are always colliding with each other, in ideas, in cars, in violence and in love. This perpetual collision kinetically and perpetually changes the landscape.”
It was never clear if people like this actually existed, if people could be this interesting. She had still never seen him with her own eyes, still just an illusion. For her writing was the safest way to approach strangers. The process of exchanging ideas and thoughts was similar to two cars crashing headfirst into one another, a kind of excitement that broke the daily mundane life that fills up the hours of the day. She liked to imagine if she would be able to recognize him in a crowd. A man with his own lifestyle, tall and manly, with closely cropped hair, collared shirts and suits, fine lines, and muscles that are a telltale sign of working out. He would probably smile from afar and wave his hand.
At times she could hear the sounds of the keys as they were pressed by her fingers, a lonely sound, like blood gradually flowing through veins. His words appeared on the screen, then suddenly disappeared again. He began to enter her mental world, they met in a subway station, in the gym, and in a dark Karaoke room with dim lights and drunken people. She thought about every detail that his messages contained, the imaginative tones, the voice that stitched every word together.
She began to wonder if the world should keep its mysteries to itself. If she should simply follow the rules of the game like everyone else.
Would fate allow their shoulders to brush up against one another in the streets after she gets back to his city? What are the odds in a vast place?
Would she be reminded of him in every person with a uniform, a pair of blue Adidas pants, or upon hearing sirens in the distance?
She began to wonder if tomorrow was the end of the world, would they actually meet?
She took a train with her book to another city, to lose herself in some reverie by the seaside, and remind herself that she had nothing to begin with.