It was sweltering; The sun was blindingly hot with no humidity to soften it’s rays(Raes?). The sky was emblazoned in myriad shades of gold and crimson, and everything in-between. It was such a peculiar day, the intensity of the setting only magnifying the scenario that transpired.
I was the epitome of “unconformable”, I felt like a bad “Bear Grylls” meme.
Myself and some old neighbors were sitting on the balcony of his apartment, trying to enjoy a smoke… Well, as much enjoyment one could acquire while sitting in front on an air-conditioning’s exhaust vent, smoking a cigarette in ninety-plus degree heat while trying to shield your eyes from not only the blinding rays of the sun, but it’s overbearing heat as well.
My natural reaction was to try to shelter myself, and I did so in numerous ways- and this is where the misunderstanding of the century takes place…
There I was, sitting on a plastic training potty in 90+ degree weather, coupled with the exhaust of the A/C, so realistically around 100+ degree temperatures on his balcony.
The potty, while not my first choice was the only one left open; it was converted into a temporary seat for my neighbor Lem’s balcony.
I was actively trying to stay out of the heat, lurched over, hunched beneath the balcony rail. At times I would try to look outward towards the west, but the blinding sun made it neigh impossible to do for very long, much less with any clarity. During such an occasion, a champagne colored car just so happened to have driven into the lot and parked, It was unrecognizable, unassuming, and wholly unsuspected; I was caught completely unaware.
Enter Rachel, the girl who still conjures waves of emotions within me; The one who plays these heart-strings the best; The girl who I feel is my spiritual muse- who inspires and invokes such earnest emotion in my very bones.
She sat waiting for Mary, a co-worker whom you most likely know. She apparently noticed me sitting in the sun and was not only glancing but pointing in my direction. I sat completely oblivious to this fact, as I was far too concentrated in dodging the sun rather than trying to discern who was coming into the apartment complex and their reasons in doing so.
Simply put, I tend to not concentrate on the business of others at that apartment complex unless I recognize the person- And in this case, I failed to recognize not only the car, but Rachel as well. And yet, from her eyes, it probably looked like I was trying to hide from her; due to the way I was trying to cool off.
Moments before Mary comes out to the car, Lem exclaims,
“Who is that driving that car? They keep pointing over here and looking at us.”
I responded by sitting up from my hunched-over position; shielding my eyes from the sun in order to see more clearly. What transpired next happened in mere moments, yet is engrained in memory in slow motion.
A quick glimpse through obfuscated eyes overwhelmed by sun had produced a flash of curly hair that was illuminated and colored by the setting sun. At this point I could merely discern that the driver was female. I was still somewhat oblivious to everything, so my attention was still not fully devoted into knowing who was looking up here, halfway dismissing the notion as a random tenant.
In a uninterested tone, Lem states, “Oh they’re here to pick up Mary.”
Curiosity mildly peaked, I took a second look this time and the car was then backing out to leave.
Continuing to stare despite the sun; I was leaning forward against the wooden rail, so much so that sub-consciously, I felt like I was being drawn towards her; My body fully entranced by the situation at hand; Peering harder than before- now with full concentration of body and mind as the neurons fired in unison- slowly creating associations with thoughts and ideas as to who it was that had at that point caught my complete attention. Much like gears slowly rotating within each turn of the next series of events that had came to pass; These finite moments that has caused me so much trepidation.
I was entirely entranced as I watched a hand extend from inside the vehicle in slow motion; Every ounce of me captivated in full; While taking in the moment, processing the motion of her gesture, the epiphany strikes me in union with my vision making out the contours of her exposed appendage; The shape of her wrists were the only reason why I ever recognized her from that distance.
It was Rachel driving the car and that thought left me stunned. Rachel’s wrists- Contrasted perfectly by the setting sun; Wrists of which I recall so fondly; Wrists that once rested next to mine; Wrists which in that moment delivered a message for me; Wrists which displayed it in front of all and sundry during that blindingly hot summer day; Wrists that offered me a one finger salute, the bird, the universal “Fuck you!”
And so I sat, stunned, defeated, misinterpreted, and powerless over what transgressed before me. I fear that she mistook my gestures of sheltering my vision and body from the heat and had felt I was trying to hide from her, or that I wasn’t trying to acknowledge her for some reason. Which is completely off-base from reality.
In retrospect, if I had known it was her prior to her giving me the finger, I would have scaled the balcony and took the shortest route to her and tell her how I feel in regards to matters of the heart; Perhaps then, she’ll understand my motives during that day. If only she knew where I was coming from, then perhaps things could be different between her and I. Perhaps then she’d give me just one last chance, to tell her I’m sorry, and explain my actions that lead up to our splitting ways.