Sunday, December 11, 2011

Old Man, One Moment

I was standing there with my girlfriend, Julie in the train terminal. I just had a healthy lunch and wasn't happy about it. Diets sucked. Not that I really needed to be, I just felt like I should be. Next to me was a delicious mouth-watering, FAST FOOD, junk heaven. There was two of everything a starving girl could wish for. They were neatly mirroring each other.  Unholy goodness of greasy, salty fries that would make one bloated for days afterwards.  Oh the giant, artery clogging cheeseburgers, with yellow gooeyness dripping down the bottom bun.  Not to mention the large chocolate milkshakes, the condensation starting to form on the sides. Julie follows my gaze and groans. She scolds me with how well I'm doing, don't blow it, imagine the extra five miles I’d have to run, etc. Grumpily, I move away from her.  I know she’s right but why does she have to kill my fantasy?  I pound my forehead against the wall to ceiling window and give a mock moan of longing.  I feel her turn with a snort of disgust. She goes to sit and to wait for our departure to wine country.

The sunlight is bright for this winter day.  The glass warms my face, momentarily distracting me from my cravings for taste-bud gratification. I could see Burgerland, where the temptation behind me was from, lurking. I wonder if they'd notice if I snaked a French fry. I laugh out loud!

I spin around at the light tap on my shoulder. A handsome old man exactly my height smiles into my eyes. He says, "Forgive me, but you look familiar."

 He pulls me past the table of sin and dances me past my weakness. He whispers, "You look almost like my wife. You laugh like her, too, with genuine amusement!"

 He gracefully twirls me around and I'm impressed that I can suddenly dance. I tell him, "You're a wonderful lead!" I also realize I recognize this man. He is the famous photographer, Gerald Trevino.

 He dips me and says, "Thank you, my lady of the black-haired witches."

 I giggle, "Lady? Witches?" He gallantly bows and walks alone to the table with all the food. I'm half tempted to sit down and help myself. He looks back and sees me contemplating bad manners.

 "Just waiting for my wife."

 I blush and quickly go the opposite direction to sit by Julie. "Psst, that's Gerald Trevino."

She gasps her appreciation and ogles while I watch him furtively from behind my magazine. It's been at least 10 minutes and no wife. Lowering the magazine, I sigh. I can't help it. He hasn't touched his food. Then a sad thought entered my head. I hate intuitive moments. He's daydreaming and lips are silently moving. Against my better judgment for not rocking the emotional boat, I get up and slide in across from him. I can feel Julie's puzzled stare. His big, sad, brown eyes come into focus and stare into my hazel ones. I wait, for if you wait long enough, the stories come out.

 His voice is low, tender and wistful. "50 years ago, my child. I met a raven-haired beauty with green eyes over there." He nods towards Burgerland. "I was instantly smitten. It wasn't long before I convinced her that she was equally smitten enough to marry me! 30 beautiful years, three children and a handful of grandchildren! They're all still so little." His voice chokes at the thought. “He roughly shakes it off, his gray hair barely moves.  “We were blessed with the ability to communicate, love freely, easy money and enjoyment of life." His eyes glint wicked. "Among other things that are important to a healthy one compares to Serena. I've managed to go on another 20 years. Channeling my love for her into my pictures, she’s in every one, if you know how to look.”

 My heart breaks.  I’m thirty and still waiting.  True love is such a rarity. I’m in the "maybe I’ll settle for Victor, the nerdy, goody-two shoes, co-worker; or honor my Catholic roots and join the nunnery" mode.  God wouldn’t let me down, will he?

 "You'll find it one day, lady-witch." He guesses my thoughts. My cheeks betray the truth.

 My stomach embarrassingly rumbles. We laugh together.  Mine’s weak with humiliation and his loud with amusement.  A brief breath in and he continues, "This was our first meal together. I've been coming here for 20 years on this day to remember. I swear I feel her here." I feel a chill, the hairs on my body are suddenly electrified and my skin tingles. So glad I didn’t steal a fry.  “Time exists in all forms, together. I feel us, in our youth.”

He touches my hand. "Lady-witch, thanks for the company. I must go. Please be glad to have met me, as I am of you."

I watch his long, lean body get up. He quickly walks out of the terminal. There’s a black photographer’s bag on the seat.  I jump up, "Mr. Trevino! You forgot your camera.”

Running out, I am in time to watch the exact instant as he deliberately steps off the platform and into the arms of the 100 miles an hour nonstop train. Screaming and sobbing, I collapse to the ground. Holding the camera, I’m rocking back and forth. Gentle breezes lift my hair, cooling my tears, against the far wall, illuminating the tunnels just enough, for one moment, I see they are together once more.

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