Sorry but I saw you that way today. Just a flash ... quick but clear enough to make me shiver. You’ve grown old! That white colour you sometimes forgot, or of which you stubbornly denied the existence did conquer your hair… or what remained of it in fact. On that thing you were right fifty years ago when we were merrily walking down that street and you said, with cynical certainty, that this is the fate of all men.
You are here, not as strong as I last saw you. Life is strange and is capable of making the closest people strangers. I know you never wanted this to happen, but I did realize that time dared and left its traces on your face! Traces that show clearer and deeper when you smile; although you seldom smiled since you came in. You didn’t talk much either. You didn’t flood me with questions as you always did; maybe because you no longer have patience to deal with my endless, sometimes playful reticence to answer. But you had just to try, you know. Because I did change as well. Years have taught me a lot and one of the lessons I learned is to say what I need to say as long as it is possible for me to do it. Because if I don’t, I might have to wait half a century to get the chance to say – and it will be too late.
How endless were the times I imagined our improbable meeting. I would be stronger then; I wouldn’t silence my anger or hide my disappointment. Why be afraid? You’re gone anyway. I would shout, throw my anger at you, break, kick, and walk away. I would shake you and leave you speechless. Things you used time as a buffer to avoid. Doesn’t time bring forgiveness as they say? Doesn’t it bring oblivion? Wisdom? Or more probably doesn’t it take away power, determination, and courage?
Sorry, but I did see your trembling hands. Not of emotions but of age. You never trembled of emotions, even when you had to announce your departure – for good. You didn’t tremble or I simply didn’t see you tremble; just like you didn’t see me cry although my eyes were dry. Ah! Silly me! You probably didn’t tremble at all in fact, because you had that gift I never had: the gift of believing in the perfection of your soul.
I’m so sorry, for myself now, because when I did see you again, all I got from you is a bouquet of flowers, not even the kind I like – you don’t remember anyway, and an ocean of speechless tenderness showing from your eyes… but I doubt I will dive in it. I don’t know how to swim, you remember? And honestly, I can’t be sure that you would come to rescue me if ever I drown. You did let me down one day fifty years ago, and I’m not ready to risk my life again… my life which is ending soon, very soon anyway, because when you came today with your flowers and your ocean of tenderness, I was already getting ready to leave – for good. At last I got that chance I dreamt of for so long until I lost hope. You, standing there again, and I being the first to say it this time…