The Second Meeting
by Nicholas Su
Tired of just sitting in my room, I went out to the market yesterday; walking out in my bare feet to look at all the vendors selling their wares under those canvas white tents. Iâ€™d had enough of reading stories of heroes and villains I would never meet in this life and Iâ€™d had enough of staring out the northern window of my small sandstone house only to see the wind blowing across the dunes just like it did yesterday and the day before. It was hot that morning; even though the sun had not yet reached its peak in the sky the sand on the street stung my soles with each passing step.
The bazaar was a little line of white, sunken in between two sandy walls which actually enclosed the houses in which many other inhabitants of this lost town lived, slept, and listened to fairy tales which would never come true. It was scorching out in the street, so all the people, men and women alike, donned their white robes before coming out to the marketplace. Tomorrow would be burning hot, and the day after as well, so naturally the townspeople never wore nor knew any other color of cloth.
As I wandered through the street, I listened to all the voices speaking Arabic which I hardly knew. I watched the flow of heads over bodies clad in white moving slowly through the sand, drifting between each other as they made their ways from vendor to vendor. Fruit would taste really good right now, I thought to myself. Itâ€™s so dry, nothing could be better than to sink my teeth into the sweet juice of an orange. Slowly, I walked towards the fruit vendor, weaving my way through the crowd.
It was then when I met you for the second time. Walking through the street looking for the stand with oranges, I looked down to see your eyes, hallowed by the arid winds yet still dark, powerful, and unwavering as they were the day you left me. Your skin seemed to be a darker shade of bronze, as if those soft cheeks had become part of such a motionless statue, frozen only to be slowly darkened and eroded by other forces of nature. But then as you lifted your eyes to return my gaze, it was clearer than ever before that everything was not the same. You were different this time, as was I. Those stoic eyes from the past now returned rippled with doubt and uncertainty. The watery glimmer I saw within your stare reminded me of my own hesitance when I struggled for the first time to ask you the question but before I finished you answered
But now it was you, not me, and now I no longer had an answer. I, who had resolved to no longer search for such absolute truths, no longer wished to invent another one for you, because whenever you hesitate to answer such an ambiguous question of love with the words â€œyesâ€ or â€œno,â€ it is always more or less a partial lie. Such simplified responses fail to bring closure to the matter at hand; they only serve to breed chaos. So I slowly began backing away, fading back into the crowd. Somewhere in between steps, I broke the silent barrier between the two of us, and the last memory I have of our second meeting was the silent tear that rolled out of your left eye and fell to the sand only to be vaporized upon landing on the hot sands of the streets. I quickly turned and walked away.
That night I sat in my room reading a fantastic tale of two lost lovers reunited while traversing the desert. I listened intently to the winds that slowly move the dunes across the sands and wondered to myself how it was that you and I had met again, on this dry oasis where no dreams ever come true. It had taken me a long time to finally get here, a long time to understand that sometimes there is not always an answer, even if there is nothing you want more. And then I met you for the second time, the you that never understood either. I was still amidst myself in thought when I heard a soft tapping on the door. For a moment I froze before cautiously making my way to the door and slowly pulling the knob back. It was a basket of oranges, sitting in front of my house.
The Second Meeting