She Haunts Me Yet


Image Source: NYPL Digital Gallery

She was meant to be a shadow. Nothing more than looming black across my light. That’s all she was and all she’ll ever be.

I first saw her in winter. Back table against the wall. She was pure, raven-haired seduction. Alone, reading an early afternoon edition of the Herald Tribune. I came in without my hat, and the snow in my hair melted and ran down my neck, onto my collar and down the small of my back, and there she was. Instant sensory association. I wanted to marry her on the spot, but I couldn’t even say hello to her.

The winter went on and on, and I always hoped for snow, so I could feel the drips down my back and thus feel her. She almost always got the same table, and I almost always got the same table, one in the middle where I could sneak glances at her all lunch. I always came alone, hoping she’d see me and catch on and say yes. Hoping she’d come over and make me the happiest lug in the cafeteria and the world. But she never did.

Summer came, and sometimes I would take an ice cube and hold it on my neck, so I could feel the drips down my back and thus feel her. We both kept the same tables and the same routines. And she still never noticed me.

And she never would. Her star could never hang so low. So every day she’d eat alone and bus her tray alone and go back to her office alone. And every day I’d eat alone and watch her alone and go back to my life alone. Just another lonesome guy, madly in love with a shadow.

And then she was gone. Just…gone, off to another job or another city or another life with her man. Like she never existed, and never sent her shadow across my path. Like she never took my heart and made it gasp. Like…nothing there.

Like the shadow she was…

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43 comments
  1. I always wanted to be that dark and mysterious chic. I’m too friendly though. Great imagery and mood. Thanks for an evocative early-morning read!

    • It’s never too late, right? ;)

  2. writerwendyreid said:

    Nice post Brian. I like the ice cube part. I could almost feel it dripping down my back…

    • Thanks. Crazy how those little things become such huge associations, right?

      • writerwendyreid said:

        Exactly. To me, that’s how I judge how good a story is. If it makes me FEEL something, whether it be anger, joy, sadness, or an actual physical sensation…then it becomes more than a mere story – it’s an experience. :)

      • Wow. I’m truly humbled to read that. Thank you so much, Wendy.

  3. “Like she never took my heart and made it gasp.” Wow. My favorite line. I also like how you carried the cool drips from winter to summer.

    • Thank you so much! Guess I was on a roll with this one. 20 minutes, total free-flow.

      • morezennow said:

        I.loved.this. I’ve had so many of those moments when that elusive someone has crept into my being and they haunt me for awhile. Truly another beautiful glimpse, Brian.

      • awwww…thanks, ya big lug-ette.

  4. Janet said:

    I love the first paragraph, especially the last line, there is something in that last line that reminds me of Leonard Cohen. I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but to me she seems to be the light and him the shadow. Basically, seeing her lightens up his day, while as he is darker, unhappy in his lonely life, and the way he watches her everyday reminds me of someone lurking in the shadows. Anyway, just a thought. That photo you have is perfect. Good choice.

  5. Again, excellent work Brian. I love the sense of ‘what if’ without a hint of regret….which is a wasted sentiment. And I agree with Jeannette…the line, ‘Like she never took my heart and made it gasp.’…..wow.

    • I hope you’re inspired, Alex! You’ve got some work to do. ;)

      • I know….I know…..

        ; )

  6. eva626 said:

    just wow! awesome post man

    • Just thank you so much!

  7. curvyelviesays said:

    Wow….you left me speechless.

    • *blush* Thank you so much!

  8. whiteladyinthehood said:

    That was great Brian!

    • Thankya, ma’am!

  9. mutterdiscretion said:

    eteryczny blask

    an unreal woman permamently in flight

    świetne !

    fantastic Mr.Westbye

    • Thankya!

  10. This is wonderful. I like how honest it is.

    • Thanks! Write what you know, right?

  11. Alex @ Raw Recovery said:

    This is a really interesting story, I really enjoy your writing.

    • Thank you so much, Alex. Greatly appreciated.

  12. I was wondering if you might help me out…El Guapo and Edward Hotspur gave me quite a bad time the other day, and I thought it might be fun if some of us bloggers who frequently see their sites would mention “conspiracy” or some form of the word in any comment we make on their blog tomorrow. The idea is to get them thinking that it is weird that so many people are talking about conspiracies…but we should still be subtle enough that they won’t figure out there really is a conspiracy to quickly.

    • ….evil laugh…

      • Thanks…it should be fun.

  13. Don’t you think it’s weird that El Guapo wrote something which so easily fits into the whole conspiracy thing? EH hasn’t written anything today. I wonder if they know. Sorry, I might be over-thinking the whole thing. Thanks for commenting regardless. ;)

    • Perhaps they’re conspiring against you… (cue up laugh track gasp)

      • They couldn’t pull something like that off…right…?

      • Mommy? I’m scared…

      • I’m a little scared too. I should have thought of an exit strategy…

      • Sorry to keep bothering you…but they know…read EHs…they are going to kill me

      • Nice knowing ya! If you survive, “bother” me anytime. ;)

  14. this vignette is so lovely and haunting, Brian. I sorta feel that while reading this short piece, I also absorbed the novel that it is wrapped in. very satisfying!! :)
    janet

    • Thank you so much, Janet! You have made my night.

  15. Um…this is a really excellent story, Brian. You ought to be mega proud of this. It’s absolutely delicious. I want to eat it.

    • *blush!*

  16. This was awful lovely. Beautiful and sad. I’m fascinated by these kinds of feelings.

    • “Awful lovely.” I love that! Thank you so much! Great having you here.

  17. Reblogged this on brian westbye and commented:

    I’m taking this week off to re-charge. Here’s today’s Fiction re-run.

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