She always sat on the same swing, and no matter the weather or the day, he always found her there. Mostly still, hands wrapped tightly around the two chains like pillars and guardians by her side. When she swung in the air, the few rare times she did, her grasp would slightly loosen- and he often thought about how easily he could push her off. Did he plan on pushing her off? No, of course. Never. But it was simply a thought, in the myriads he had about the thousands of opportunities presented before him. He often thought of meeting her, but once again, it played out all in his head: as either a simple, “Hello, I’m Tom.” to “Hello, you baffle me everytime I pass this playground to go for work. I’ve thought of the many times I could introduce myself, and I guess this is it.” He never actually even dared to see her face. All he had to do was walk in front of the playground and not behind, but he was scared that too would ruin the moment, her moment. With her spine gorgeously upright, wood-colored hair tickling the swing seat, muscles tense, she seemed deeply engrossed or entranced by something. What was she staring at? Or was she inside the realms of her mind, just like him. So her, and the thought of who she might be and could mean to him always hummed like a bee in his head, disrupting the music coming from his earphones. At 9:20am, as he made his way to the office, he would witness the epitome of beauty. It was a moment in which he found he was most human. He was a simple human, searching for the beauty in life. And somehow, it had always presented itself to him in her form.
She always wondered who the footsteps belonged to. Everyday, when the sun took up a particular spot in the couch of the sky, a particular set of shoes would hit the ground. How could she tell?
She was blind.
She saw in different ways: the feeling of transparent heat tiptoeing from her lap to her arms, would tell her the whereabouts of the sun and whether noon had striked yet. She could pick up the movement and crunching of gravel and estimate the shoe size and heaviness of a person too. So just as she picked up all kinds of patterns in her life, she picked up this one.
It was a slower stride, the gravel moved languidly under the heavy soles. It was a man, she concluded, after the first 3 times of his passing. Sunlight would heat up her fingertips and that was the signal. Scrunch scrunch scrunch. Then there would be a pause. He was probably looking her way. She never turned around though, for she wanted to keep him spellbound, to keep her assumed beauty intact. Refusing to wear sunglasses, her blind eyes remained wide open, like two big milky opals dominating her face. They took all the attention away from her praised facial features, thus, ruining her to-be witchcraft on men.
And both of them went on like this, her hair melting down her spine, merging with tufts of silky clouds in the sky. Him, like a hungry beggar, following behind, yet never getting too close. Both too scared human touch and voice would interrupt the sacredness of the moment. Both never realising they had become each other’s highlight of the day, each other’s break-for-a-second, where breaths felt fresher and life, brighter.
She only ever heard him, and he only ever saw the idea of her beauty.
“Nothing gold can last.”
One day, when fall was undressing into winter, it got too cold and she decided to walk back to grab a coat. Picking the stick lying on the floor, she turned around a minute too early, for the sun didn’t shine that day. He was passing by, as usual. Both were slightly too slow to realise what was happening until a small gasp crossed the air between them. Tom pondered upon those eyes, then regained his footing and walked past her. He walked away, towards his office, and towards finding another source of beauty.
The next day, she didn’t sit on the swing, neither did he walk past it. And neither the day after that, or ever, in fact.
Like humans do, he moved on to the next spark and she moved on with life as if there had never been any interruption.