Responsible behavior has its merits. It can also be deadening, an unconscious habit that crushes our most creative impulses. Last year one of the Shaker High cheerleaders left a party on Homecoming night, and drove all the way to Los Angeles. Got in her car and left. People whispered she’d followed a boy she loved. Conceivably, she graduated out west. For all I know, she’s driving down Hollywood Boulevard at this moment, laughing at the impulse that carried her to a new life.
Am I equally brave?
Unsure, I stroke the glittery band on my wrist. The contact brings an unexpected tingling in my fingertips. Sharp, like electricity, the sensation radiates up my arm. I snatch my hand back, too late. The here-and-now slips away, the sound of the twittering birds fading off and the sultry breeze on my skin no longer noticeable.
Knowing strikes with uncommon force.
Stars, planets, the Milky Way, earth—when the universe retreats, I’m left with an image of a man. His face is inked on my grey matter like a tattoo.
His eyes are electric blue. His hair resembles the West Virginia morning, a fiery, incandescent red. At over six feet in height, he’s a towering presence among the pedestrians on the picturesque street I’ve conjured inside my head with cinematic precision. There’s a restaurant with a black and white striped awning. He’s pacing outside.
Knowing pulls me closer. Like a wary ghost, I circle him.
I detect his mood, the impatience rising off him like mist. Then the beauty of his eyes strikes me. Crystal-sharp light refracts off vibrant blue irises. I don’t know anyone like this, with eyes more brilliant than gems, eyes deep with enough knowledge to span the world. They’re fierce, piercing—beautiful.
With hyper-vigilant strides, he moves down the sidewalk. Pivoting, he retraces his steps. He sees all, misses nothing. Something about the complete package seems otherworldly, the red hair and the unusual eyes coupled with the affection cascading across his face as he appraises a swarthy shop owner sweeping the pavement, and the cluster of boys running past, late for the school bus. I don’t believe in angels, or demons for that matter, at least not outside my favorite stories in literature. I can’t bring myself to believe an alien from another galaxy has transformed into the striking form of a thirty-year-old man who’s caught between anticipation and worry as he pauses by the restaurant’s picture window.
All my life I’ve been a passive onlooker. The visions stream through my mind then fade off. I’ve never asked the mysterious force behind the knowing to supply information. I do so now, layering the question on top of the movie-reel vision of the man.
Who is he?
The vision spins nauseatingly fast. At length, it slows. Undeterred, I try again.
Where is he?
The answer snaps before my eyes.
He’s waiting for me.
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