Across the food court is a boy I hadn’t noticed until just now. We might as well be mirror images. Thin greasy hair down the sides of our faces. Dark clothing. Our chins resting on our knees which are wrapped tight by thin, pale arms.
Our eyes lock. I see my feelings in his dark gaze. Thoughts of razor blades and prescription pills fly away in a gale of emotions; they manifest as goosebumps. A gaggle of Japanese tourists make their flashbulb way across, blocking my view of the boy. When they finally pass, he’s gone.
I experience the physical symptoms of panic. I try to chide myself for the fantasy. I only saw what I needed to see. Yet the sense of loss is tremendous. I try to leap to my feet and search for him. I am a block of ice, the coldness descending from my crown to my toes. Despair is a thermodynamic state.
I begin to hyperventilate.
My vision blurs, then there is a smell of almonds and cloves, and there is a gentle voice coming out of the noise of the place and it is followed by a touch.