What is death, but the absence of life? I can still remember the first time I laid my eyes on her. By this stage, my eyes had started failing me and I had to rely on other senses to understand what was going on around me.
She appeared to me as a silhouette of stardust. Like a being from another planet who was only temporarily visiting earth. Wherever she was from, I wanted to visit. There was a magic that surrounded her; an auric field that stretched out well beyond her physical frame.
She was wearing something floral. I could make out that much. She was by herself. Looked very out of place, almost like she didn’t want to be there. I wanted to speak with her, find out who she was and her story. By the time I finally approached her, I recognised her. I hadn’t seen her in such a long time. She was a woman now and not the little girl I once knew. Did she recognise me? Did she know who I was? Did she remember me?
I walked into her line of vision and waved. There was a brief look of recognition in her eyes, but mostly there was confusion. She seemed to have a vague recollection of who I was, but she didn’t remember me. I wanted to say something to her, but I couldn’t find the words. I didn’t know how to look into her eyes so I managed a hello and walked off.
I saw her again a few weeks later. This time I had to pluck up the nerve to speak to her. She’d grown into a fine young woman. I couldn’t really tell how old she was, though. I wondered if she was single or if there was a man in her life; someone whom she loved and someone who loved her back.
I was immediately in love. Awestruck. To me, she was extraordinarily amazing. Like an extraterrestrial in a human body. I watched her from a distance. I wasn’t sure if she would want to speak with me. And if she did, I wasn’t sure if she would want to be with me. She could have had any guy she wanted. Why would she choose me?
To me, she was a woman made entirely of stardust.
After asking around, I found out that she was an author with a new business. I didn’t know much about books, but I knew a thing or two about business. A friend of mine had told me about her book The Little Light. I found it online and had a friend read it to me.
“Who came up with this crazy idea?” he said. “What a book. Still don’t get it, but what a book.”
I smiled. I was right. She was indeed made of starstuff.
I had been dead inside for a long time. I’d given up on women. Given up on love. Given up on ever finding anyone who could make me feel alive again. I’d worked hard and ‘done well for myself’ as the story goes, but all my achievements felt hollow and empty. It’s not like I hadn’t had options when it came to women. In fact, there were too many. In my younger days, when I was driven by my ego, I indulged myself.
But as I grew older, I felt less and less fulfilled by the women I met. You know, it’s a hollow feeling–when you always end up with women who like you; and you can’t like them back. Somehow, they know–that you don’t feel the same way. That’s when they try to trap you, manipulate you and get up to all their tricks. I’m not stupid. I work it out eventually.
I tried my best to treat them with decency, but I failed. I wasn’t in love with them. I didn’t want to be with them. Each relationship I’d been in felt like a prison sentence I couldn’t get out of. As a businessman, I kept attracting a particular archetype of woman. And the whole thing was cliche. Trite. Uninspiring.
After a while, the allure of that unwarranted attention faded. I was left with a real sense that I was lonely and alone in this world.
I networked a lot. I had a lot of acquaintances; but there was a meaninglessness at the heart of it. It was like we were all playing pretend. Pretending to be someone. Pretending that we were someone important. Pretending that we were the personas we’d built up for ourselves.
We’d discuss politics, our businesses, our colleagues. It was all same old. Nothing we did mattered at all.
“You look familiar,” I finally blurted out at an event.
Of all the lines in the world, that is the one I finally came up with? I was disappointed in myself.
“That’s really cliche,” she said, almost as though she could read my thoughts, “you really should think of a better opening line.”
I wanted to see her again. Spend time with her–just me and her. There were so many people at that event that I felt so ridiculously self-conscious. You know, people talk. We may all be adults, but when it came to this boy-girl stuff, it was like people reverted to being teenagers instantaneously.
Who was that girl you were talking to?
NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Well, that’s what I wanted to yell at the top of my voice, but couldn’t for obvious reasons.
She didn’t know it and I couldn’t say it.
But I was already in love with her.
In love with the woman made of stardust.