The young man had been traveling for hours when he decided to stop and eat at a nearby restaurant. He still had at least two hours to go. He parked off the road, came out and looked at his wristwatch. He dithered – whether to carry on traveling or to enter the restaurant. The untamed wind flipped his tie to the left and made it dance for a while. He paid no attention.
It was neither afternoon nor nightfall. It was the reign of twilight. The man looked down the horizon in the far distance and saw the setting Sun. He looked at his watch once more. It was certain that he had to eat. He pulled the door, entered the restaurant and gently closed the door behind him as if he didn’t want to disturb those within.
There was a lady sitting inside – she was the only customer, at least at that time. She had just finished her meal and was sipping a glass of orange juice. She also loosely held a stick of cigarette, which she was smoking romantically, between her index and middle fingers, occasionally tapping it on the edge of the ashtray before her in order to deposit the ashes.
She caught his eyes as soon as he entered. She made eyes at him – at least that’s what he thought – romantically pulled another mouthful of smoke from the cigarette and allowed it to descend down her throat before releasing much of it via her mouth and nose.
He ordered his meal and started eating – eating nervously. He gave her the eye occasionally; she reciprocated almost every time. Whether she did it consciously or unconsciously, one thing was certain – he had fallen in love with the lady at first sight.
He nervously left the table for the bathroom, almost spilling the effervescent water in his glass. Of course he did not go there to use it, but to both question, and dialogue with, himself. Life always poses questions that need answers, and realities that need acceptance or rejection.
“Have I fallen in love with her already?” he questioned himself, looking in the bathroom mirror and shaking his head, as if attempting to shake the feeling off.
“Some have wondered whether there’s anything called love at first sight. While they wonder, others flatly reject the idea. But I – I love her. I mean, I love her.” He rubbed the top of his head, moving his left palm from the front to the back of his head.
“ I – I – I love her. Yes, I do. I strongly believe that love at first sight exists, is real and can be long-lasting. I love her. But why do I love her at first sight?” He paced in front of the mirror, occasionally watching himself in it.
“A lot of people disagree that love at first sight exists. They are wrong. I know my feelings. I’ve fallen in love. Maybe I’m stupid. No! I’m not silly.” The volume of his voice was increasing. He kicked the trash basket in the toilet and moved up and down, as if someone had just angered him.
“I’ve no patience even for those who contend that if it exists, then it’s not real. Stupid! Do they know one-hundred percent what’s real, and what’s unreal? Maybe they’re right. No – no! They aren’t. I know that I love her.” He slapped the wall with his two hands and rested his head on them against the wall for a few seconds. Then he placed his head in his right hand, as if to indicate that he was suffering from a headache. He looked in the mirror and nodded and shook his head confusedly. Something had taken hold of him.
“Could it be that those who argue that love at first sight cannot be long-lasting are right? I think so. But, so what? I know that I love her. By the way, is there anything that’s long-lasting, other than everlasting life in heaven or hell?” He smiled relievedly. He had become both the confused and enlightened one. But from whom could he have received any assurance, if not from himself?
“No way! It’s false. Love at first sight can be long-lasting. King David, for instance, fell in love with Bathsheba at first sight and took her as wife. In fact, Solomon, who later became King Solomon, was born unto them. Yes – yes! Love at first sight can be long-lasting!” He clasped his hands and squeezed them gleefully, as if he had succeeded in overcoming a difficult problem. He paced in the bathroom, unconsciously caressing the space above his upper lip, using his index and middle fingers, as if there were any mustache to play with.
“Love at first sight isn’t real? Isn’t long-lasting? Say that to Adam and Eve. Tell Adam that love at first sight is lust, not love. Insanity! How long did Adam date Eve or observe her before falling in love with her? Wasn’t it love at first sight? It was. Wasn’t it real love? Of course, it was. Wasn’t it long-lasting? Adam lived for 950 years and he lived all his life with Eve, a woman whom he had fallen in love with at first sight. Don’t tell me that love at first sight doesn’t exist, is not real and cannot be long-lasting.” He spoke as if he were trying to win a second arguer standing opposite him. He had found the answer – at least that’s what he thought. He opened the door to go out, but then came right back in, as if he had forgotten about something. He paced and slapped the wall once again. His sweat glands had already been activated. His body produced heat.
“Adam fell in love at first sight. That’s a fact. David fell in love at first sight. That’s also indisputable. I’ve also fallen in love with this lady at first sight. Could mine be any different? No – no! It can’t be! It’s the same feeling.” He involuntarily swallowed spit and stroked the center of his head.
“If Adam and David were stupid,” he continued, “then I am also.” He rubbed his left hand across his forehead, as if he were trying to wipe something.
“If what they experienced was lust, and not love, then I’m a victim, as well.” He looked in the mirror and observed his own face. He held his lower lip with his upper teeth, released it and swallowed spit. He shook his head jerkily.
“But who cares? And who knows what’s right, and what’s wrong? What’s real, and what’s unreal? Can anyone boast of possessing the ability to explain life and its occurrences? None! Absolutely none!” He reflected on his own statements and smiled lusciously. The young man was becoming more of a philosopher than a lover. Ah, but didn’t Socrates intimate that an unfortunate lover could likely become a philosopher?
“It’s not a crime for me to fall in love with her at first sight. And it’s also not a crime to tell her that I’ve fallen in love with her. I’ll go and approach her.” He gave himself high fives, as if he were trying to kill a trespassing insect in the air. He had made up his mind.
He straightened up himself, returned to his table and sat confidently. He sighed and was ready to make move. To his utmost surprise, however, the lady was nowhere to be found.
A little bird flew by, sang “Chi-lie, chi-lie!” and flew away.
Seriously, my people, aren’t these points to ponder?
Paul Yeenie Harry can be reached at 0880619323 or email@example.com.