Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two People Walk Out of a Building

It is not unusual for the same two people to meet more than once in one’s lifetime. Whether they are complete strangers or the most intimate of lovers, people have a way of coming back around.

This is brief tale of how two people walked out of the same building, simultaneously, at three different encounters of their lives. The first time was brief and they were strangers. The second time was a long a drawn out relationship where they had multiple departures and encounters. The third, they were once again strangers and the moment in each other’s vicinity was brief.

They first encountered each other on a street corner. She was crossing it and he was leaving the parking lot of the building where had a class together. He sat in the back and kept quiet. She sat in the front and knew all the answers. They were both leaving after a particularly daunting ethics class. She went to cross the street as he sped around the corner to get to his ever daunting part time job. She sustained no serious injury, but he got out to help her regardless, she was a beautiful woman after all. She refused medical attention and he didn’t push it, insurance rates aren’t kind to negligence. They both went on their own ways never even exchanging names (well he knew hers, she didn’t care enough to ask), not to meet again for another eight years.

The second time he chose her to be his life partner, if you will. This was the strangest encounter of all. This piece of their story starts in a home, one that he financed, but she rarely frequented. Neighbors speculated about why that might be. The most docile of these rumors was that she was a flight attendant, one that worked excessive hours at exotic parts of the world. She was rarely home for more than a day. But for the most part, the most common word used to describe her scarce presence on the block was “suspicious.” She never felt the desire to defend these accusations because she thought her behavior was normal and he never gave them reason to think that he was unhappy. The one thing they didn’t notice was that she always arrived on the same days every month, arriving and departing at the same time, each time.

They recognized his routine as frequent and regular. He went to work every morning and came home at the same time every night. In the winter, he shoveled the snow as necessary. In the summer he mowed the lawn every week. He seemed normal. She did not.

The wealth between them was obvious. He was always there for the delivery of their new furniture, paintings and home gym equipment, which was obviously never used. She was never there for these enjoyable arrivals. It was always questioned by their nosey neighbors whether he bought these things for his own enjoyment or as a way to get her to come back.

They had no children and no pets; it was probably best that way. She wouldn’t remember them shortly after every time she left, even if they had. When they met the second time, he recognized her instantly, but never mentioned it to her. She wouldn’t have remembered anyhow, he knew that. She had a different identity then.

The third time they both walk out of a downtown skyscraper, he had known her once. But they left the building as strangers, of so it would have seemed to on lookers. They did not acknowledge each other. She was moving forward to a previously arranged engagement. While he continues to take one day at a time. She will never remember him after his last engagement with her.

He never did see her again or find out why she had chosen the life of a rental, a doll. All he knew was that she didn’t remember any of the people who chose her on a daily basis. To her, at the end of the day, she was a clean slate, a tabula rasa, he was just another face in the crowd who will never recognize any love in his face. He made that choice for presuming to know what was best.

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