You are in an elevator and you see someone who personifies what you have been looking for in your life. You have this sudden surge of colors in your cheeks as though you saw God or its equivalent in this person. You look at that person stupidly for a long time and when that person looks your way you guiltily became engrossed in your bag, your cellular phone, your shoes and even the instructions in the elevator. You have this quickened and heightened awareness of beauty around you. You feel you need to talk to this person — any word will do, a smile, a genuine reaction, even a smirk. But you have this aching feeling that you don’t exist in this person’s world or that you are noticed. What to do?
Many of your friends have a lot of things to say about this chance encounter and they have stories of their own. Each one more magical and eternally more exciting than the last. But you have a real story of your own that is quite similar to the situation mentioned in the first paragraph.
You were riding the MRT on your way to Makati one early evening. You were with your good friend who you share a lot about your life than anyone else. You always enjoy this friend’s company because of the discussions you usually have in the long train home. While your friend tells you about his current obsessions, you tell him that almost everyone in the train does not smile, or they look sad, almost melancholy, as though dreading the things they will find when they reach home.
You were at that point when the train stopped in busy and people-ful Cubao/Araneta station, and in came a goddess so beautiful you both were transfixed. She was obviously an angel who lost her way when she was heading to some celestial place, because of her uncommon beauty and a lack of awareness of her beauty.
You try not to look at her but your friend was mouthing poetics about her. You observe her vicariously through your friend’s avid and postmodern description and assessment. You look at her surreptitiously to catch a glimpse of heaven, but you sense that she notices the fakery of that single gesture of yours so you try to examine the darkening sky with rapt attention — something you don’t usually do — inorder to cover up your highly curious nature.
Then you feel that your pulse is quickening to such an alarming rate, and your palpitations began to loudly announce your embarrassed but unabashed admiration for such an ideal beauty. Then you try to really look at her once and memorize all features in that sweeping glance. Although you tried to commit things to memory when you were a student, this new memorization is nothing academic — while admittedly visual it is also purely transcendent.
You notice small things about her. You notice the angelic face that is an absolute perfection. The pallor of her skin reminds you of women you see in gloss magazines and you decided that make-up or no make-up she possessed such an innate beauty that repeated glances is imperative. And if that wasn’t enough, you notice that by sheer alchemy, pure sorcery and magic, she is glowing to such nuclear proportions. Her arms were most delicate. Her neck with such swan-like proportions distracted you from the small cascades of her hair. Her dress is “businesslike chic” but you think she is just trying to dress down — afraid that her unspeakable beauty will cause a riot similar to that in 1913 when Stravinsky’s “Rites of Spring” was first heard in France.
You are unwilling to admit that your attraction has very little lust value. Its as if, she is an object of beauty best placed in pedestals and not touched. You realize you are overly exaggerating in your mental descriptions but you try to imagine what your life would be like with her. You suddenly imagine scenarios where you introduce her to incredulous friends who thought that your average, plain Joe looks are inversely proportional to this hideously beautiful woman. You laugh at their reactions, at the same time vicariously imagining the torment they are undergoing when they reach home and analyze how you were able to get this deliriously lovely woman to fall for you.
Your reverie was interrupted because your friend had to step out of the train, and you were left behind with this creature of immense attractiveness. You friend enviously looked at both you and Venus-personified when you realize that she is still with you on the train. On the station in Ayala where you normally get off, you decided in split-second decision that you will want to follow her and see what station she will step out of just to give a closure to your unattainable goal, then your superego told you to just get on with your life and eventually forget her.
You watched with mounting excitement as her poetry-in-motion movement made for the same door you are headed. Probably crimson with love coupled with the stupid belief that life ends happily ever after, you got so close to her as to really really smell her when the door opened and both of you and the rest of the populace spilled out of the train and went to the nearest elevator. Unable to contain the excitement the you are with her at least in one air-space, you suddenly remembered to pray. So vigorously it shocked you. You prayed that a miracle will happen that night.
Then just like real life, she went to the different direction while you were taking your own path to nowhere. You try to nonchalantly ignore her departing figure, then you realize that happy endings are only in fairy tales created by the Grimm Brothers. Your own fairy tale was obviously written by the greatest masochist of all time — Hans Christian Andersen whose fairy tales always end unhappily.
You took one last lonely glance at a person that you will never probably know in your life, when, by some divine intervention, she looked back and looked at you. Directly at you. Only you. You swear there was no one else. And you both instantly felt that instant connection — as people who are in love can search for her/his partner in the foggiest of rooms and jungle-like of places. You don’t know what to do, and you instantly fell in love all over again. With such intensity it scared you. No other feeling came close — not even the heady feeling when you got your first pay check. Her look was so shy and fleeting and direct. Then she looked straight ahead and went on her way. Just like that.
And you, a fool, stood longer than necessary amidst the cinematic flow of the people. You did not follow but you wished she would come back and pretend to buy something so that you can have your cue and muster courage to approach her at last. She didn’t. She turned the corner and disappeared and became a statistic.
But for once in your life, you felt blessed and oddly enlightened. As though it was God or someone all-powerful. You felt momentarily dejected, you couldn’t believe the somersaults your heart did in the very brief span of time that you met a person who never even uttered a single word to you.
And even if you know it happened only yesterday, you still can’t get her out of your mind. Somehow you wish she would read this and get in touch with you. You know you are fighting an uphill battle because you will never see her again unless you wait trains for the rest of your life. And in time you will forget her just as you will become a memory to her if at all she had those fleeting but strong feelings for you. But you know what and strangest of all, you will probably look for her in every corner, in every face, in everything for the rest of your life and wonder why you willingly let her walk away.