You weren’t there when I took the photo, I’m sure of that. I composed the photograph with care, every person and object aligned with artistic vision. Where did you appear from?
For hours I studied the photograph with obsession; I meditated and took myself back again and again to the time and location, still there was no answer. You couldn’t have been in the frame.
I processed and digitally enhanced the image on my computer. A face appeared, captivating, the face of an angel. My heart soared. I fell in love. I couldn’t sleep, but absorbed the image in my mind and heart. The smile, the knowing eyes, the golden hair cascading down your shoulders and framing the milky white, soft, and unblemished skin of your face.
I yearned for you.
I ached for you.
If I could spend one moment, one instant of time, in your company, my life would be fulfilled.
A dark pool welled in my heart. I would never see you again. You were merely a fleeting image, a ghost, a trick of the light and imagination, a moment, forever lost.
I fell asleep shortly before dawn and dreamed. In lucid dreaming, you were there again. I moved towards you and stopped when you noticed me. You held your hand out. I wanted you in my life, not in my dreams. My soul swung from ecstatic joy to deep despair. The image faded, I tried to awake but drifted into a black, unknowing sleep.
For three weeks I thought of you, I struggled to exist day by day. The routine of life, work, domestics, hobbies, continued, performed by an automaton whose mind was somewhere else; with you. At night I dreamed of you, every night, so real, so alluring; my heart was breaking. I was losing control, but couldn’t help myself. The vision of unearthly beauty, you, haunted me. Yet there was delight in this torment.
Food ran low in the house, which had become untidy. I looked in the mirror and was shocked by my unkempt appearance. With effort I wrenched myself into reality, showered, put on fresh clothes and cleaned the house. Hunger pangs shot through my stomach like knives being twisted, I had to eat. Cooking was just too much, so I headed out for a take-away from the Chinese restaurant half a mile down the road. The air smelled strange, but I drew it deep into my lungs. It had been so long since I had walked, driving to work every day, then dreaming my life away at home.
A screech of tyres. A scream. A figure, poised, frozen in the path of a car which was hurtling out of control. I ran and pushed the figure clear and then the car caught me. A tearing pain in my hip, then the world turned upside down, I span through the air and landed on the concrete of the sidewalk. A bang resonated through my skull, my last memory and then everything went blank.
I awoke two days later in hospital. I had concussion but the wounds were minor, I would make a full recovery. As my vision cleared a bright blue light filled the room . . . no . . . it was filling my entire being, mind and body; for the face looking down on me was you. Love filled your eyes
You have never left my side since that time, since we saved each other.
Thirty years have passed, but I know you love to hear me tell our story as we sit in the garden watching the sun set. We are aging now, your hair is grey, and lines add character to your face, but I see through those; I see only the face of my angel.