It was 1991 and I just started my first year at the university. That Wednesday in October was sunny and exceptionally warm for this time of the year. The bus was fully loaded when a man with a wooden crate squeezed in. I stood right next to him and the crate was hitting my arm every time the bus hit a bump or a pothole in the road. I would lose my arm way before I reached my destination if not for the young man standing behind me, close to the window. He pulled me over to the window and before I knew it we changed places. Now I was standing protected from the crowd and the crate was hitting my saviour’s back.
I looked into his eyes and... my heart sank. The guy was in his early twenties, tall, his short dark hair was an unintended mess. His dark grey eyes looked at me as if he was trying to pull me in. If that were possible I wouldn’t have had resisted. I think our eyes were expressing exactly the same mix of fire and fear. It felt like we’ve finally found each other.
“Thank you” – I said still drown in his eyes. “You’re welcome” – he answered. He lowered his eyes. I did too. The silence became awkward. He looked over his shoulder at the crate man. I looked out of the window. I smiled when our eyes met again. He smiled back. Awkward silence again. He took out a study book (a student too!) pretending to read. I looked out of the window sometimes peeking at him. Every once in a while he looked up from his book to pull me in with his eyes.
Three stops later he stepped out of the bus. He was watching me while the bus was moving away. I smiled. But I wanted to cry. Because at that instant I knew what love at first sight felt like and I also knew I lost him forever.
I took me some time to realise I would never forget him. Then I started looking for him. I went looking around ‘his’ bus stop. I put paper advertisements on the bus stop, in the busses and at all the university faculties I could guess would be appropriate judging by his study book. I put advertisements in newspapers. Later I have spammed all possible forums on the internet in search for him. I was always looking for him in the crowds on the main street during holidays and in the weekends. I inevitably scanned all the faces around me in the metro. All these years I knew that if I met him, I’d recognise him right away. And he would too. There was no doubt he didn’t forget that day.
One evening last week I switched on the TV to entertain myself during the dinner. I stumbled upon a talk show. The guest was this newly evolved the-girl-next-door style star. She is all over the place, and nearly everyone I meet claims to have met her at one time or another. I got fed up with her after five minutes of the show and was ready to push the button when they started taking questions from the audience. That’s when I saw him.
Life in the slow motion mode. My heart was beating hard enough to wake up neighbours’ kids. I got a lump in my throat. I was trying to pull him into my room with my eyes. I found him! It’s not like he hadn’t changed in twenty years. But I recognised him right away. I found him and this time I won’t let him go!
His voice didn’t change and my heart sank deeper and deeper as I was listening. It took a while before the meaning of his words started reaching me. He said something about this being the only possibility, about looking for a long time, he was not sure this question was appropriate in public.
“It was Wednesday, 9 of October 1991. I saved you from a man with a wooden crate on the bus. Do you remember?” - he finally asked, his eyes full with hope and fear.
“I didn’t live here back then” – the star answered with a sympathetic smile on her face.
Ночные снайперы - Я люблю того, кто не придет