I was in a crowd once. A roaring one. People were running around like they had no control over their feet, just an instinct that told them they had somewhere to go, something to do, fast. They were all soft blurs of paint on a large scale canvas, each planned, each placed there for a reason.
I must have looked the same to them, I guess.
Within the chaos there was a moment. One single moment gone as fast as it came but I saw it. I was caught up in it. To many it was just another brushstroke that got lost in the painting, but I was instantly pulled in by it’s colour. I couldn’t help but see it.
There was a girl. Young, maybe. An adult, maybe. Real, desiring, definitely.
She was looking at a boy. And I mean looking. But not in the way some people look at each other and see a summer’s day. Blue skies, gentle breezes and infinite afternoons. Not in the way some people look at each other and see a snapshot. A moment engraved beautifully in time. Not even in the way some people look at each other and suddenly everything is reflected. A projection, a mirror image, their actions returning to them.
They way she looked at him meant that the rest of her world had just stopped.The busy crowd was no more than just a breath into the air. Each colour now only a shadow in comparison. She was looking at him like books didn’t have to finish, like music would play forever. It was a look that was breathtaking, Earth-shattering. A supernova amongst distant stars.
I knew what she was feeling in that moment. She was wearing it on the outside, an extra layer of clothing so vulnerable, so priceless. Whoever he was, whatever he meant to her, he had the ability to stop her world from turning, pulling gravity from under her feet until she was lost in space and forever fell into that look in her eyes.
And that’s all it took. A moment. I watched as it was and then was no longer, so simple and yet so important. She was just a girl who I happened to see, looking at a boy who she needed to see. And that moment became a story, one in which, with a look like that, can pull you into it until you’re a paragraph amongst undiscovered chapters.
He returned her look, only a moment later, and suddenly stars were exploding all over their skies. I don’t know what happened next. I don’t want to. I was carried off by my feet, already heading somewhere I wasn’t quite sure of. I didn’t even look behind me. I didn’t need to. That moment told me everything I needed to be told. Like a night sky, you don’t need to see it to know it will be beautiful.
Because sometimes it only takes one look, if you pay close attention. It only takes one look to be told a story, to know.
The first time Michael looked at me, I knew.
A thousand butterflies, thunderstorms and snowfalls, oceans and cafes. A mixture of colour and he was the brightest of them all. That one face in the crowd. Not just a brushstroke, but the whole damn painting.
And when I looked at him, I never looked back.