She walked past a beautiful party by the lakefront patio. She didn’t care much to see the event, but her eyes spotted a familiar face. It was him. He looked radiant. Charismatic. Handsome. Basically, he looked like all the poise and confidence and charm bottled up into one and placed inside a human being. He was still perfection. She watched as he conversed with the others, who were dressed in crisp Armani suits and flowy Chanel dresses. She watched from the street toward the venue, while the festivities were happening up on the meticulously arranged patio. His daughters pranced around him. He leaned down to kiss his wife on the cheek. He looked happy. She looked down at the clutch she was carrying – the stunning Hermes clutch that he had once bought for her.
“The way that the flap inserts into the H represents us” he had said. “It’s like the way our lives just inserts in each other. A perfect fit.” But that was 4 years ago, when she was only 22. She remembered the first time he walked into her art gallery, to purchase a piece for his new office.
“I like to support emerging artists” he said matter-of-factly, “gives me a fresh perspective.”
He then went on and charmed her skirt off.
He would come by her art gallery once in a while. He’d casually stroll in on a Thursday night in his perfectly tailored suit, pretending to decipher the themes of her latest projects. But they both knew he wasn’t there to appreciate the beauty of modern photography. So they would go to the roof top of the building and watch the city below them transform into a dark pool of dancing lights. He would always bring a bottle of wine. She would always have the blanket ready for them to sit on … for her to lay her bare back on.
She remembered the way he would take his tie off and unwind from the day with her over their crystal wine glasses. She often stayed up until 2 am just to wait for him to come by from the office. She would listen to him talk about his frustrating meeting, his analysis about the current market, … his feelings for her. He had a way with his words. He always knew how to make her laugh, how to make her think, and how to make her heart melt into a puddle of hope.
They’d sit side by side on the cold, white floor of the gallery, and she could feel the heat emitting from his veins. He would go on about what happened in his world that day, then lean in to kiss her. She would share her dreams and goals, and lean back then let him take over and do what they both knew they wanted. Moments like those made her feel like all her hard work of making it into the art gallery was worth it, because it helped her meet him.
Eventually, she couldn’t help but sit by her work chair every night and stare at the hallway, hoping that the suit would appear. Each time he came in, she didn’t want him to leave. There was something about him – like her whole life was the first 2 numbers on those high school gym lockers – he was the third number that finally made the dial click in place and unlock. She was drawn to him. Became addicted to him.
Their “relationship” however, went no further than the rooftops, the backseat behind his tinted car windows, the loft behind her studio. On her 23rd birthday, he came in with a package in hand. It was a gorgeous Hermes clutch. She stared at her present. It wasn’t the fact that he had just bought a two-thousand dollar clutch for her. It was because it was from him. He had the heart to go out and purchase something so beautiful, just for her. She couldn’t hold it in any longer: “Let’s go get away this weekend. Just us.” She half asked, half begged. She admired the brilliant the outlines of his face, which suddenly became very cloudy. His expression made her want to swallow her words back in and bury them deep into a hole that would never be found. Her heart sank as she realized that her worst nightmares were about to come true.
“I have to spend it with my wife.” He stated, as-a-matter-of-factly.
Her sky collapsed and shattered into a million pieces.
She remembered the events which unfolded afterwards.
Her tears, his words of comfort.
She remembered not replying his messages for a week.
She didn’t know it was possible for her heart to actually ache.
She remembered closing the doors of her gallery, only to open them again when he knocked. She tried to let him go. But eventually she gave up and tried to make him see things her way. She must have been crazy, because she finally asked him to leave his wife and be with her. She realized that the beauty of their relationship could never be accepted. But what they don’t know is how she felt. She was, for the first time of her life, in love.
The months after the big news eventually went back to what they used to be – visits at the gallery, lovemaking by the rooftop, his sweet words and promising lies. Then one windy afternoon as she was walking to the downtown coffee shop she saw him across the street. He hasn’t visited or texted in a while. He was perfect as always with his charcoal black suit, and was about to get into the corporate taxi. Her heart raced, her adrenaline rushed. She looked at him, smiled, and waved. He looked up at her, with an expression of the deepest despair.
She called out his name.
He got into the car and slammed the door shut.