His gaze, soft, and he’s on top of the song, but not too heavily. Making his way towards her, hobbling past the sellers, in the shadow of the clock, clacking on cobbled stones, the stench of fruit, meat etc. Over all, the song still somewhere upon his lips, buzzing around his head, as it goes. If he gets near enough (for which he will have used, surely, this morning’s quota of courage) he’ll maybe try to convince himself to let the song out, to let her have it, so to speak. But probably what he’ll do instead, this poor, drooling idiot, is allow her the freedom to guess at the song and also at its significance. If he’s lucky, she may also guess that he’s there, just standing there, holding himself from a fall.
They do say, don’t they, that the heart speaks wonders that the mind has no
No care for? No matter. That his heart was speaking wonders or otherwise was, in itself, something of a miracle on account of his heart stopping two minutes earlier at the moment when she looked in his direction, directly into his eyes and possibly – maybe – with a look that at the least acknowledged his existence. Even – and he was quite prepared to entertain the possibility – if all it meant was that he was in her line of seeing and that her look was the look of simply not being able to literally see through him. Even if that was all it was, it was, of course, enough. Or did she, is it possible, did she actually see him? You know, really see him?
All this though, the indulgence of it all, was the evidence he needed of having it bad, as they say. He warned himself before they left that, well, he just warned himself and though he knew he would pay no mind to the warnings he was still here, the poor, drooling idiot, genuinely surprised at how, yet again, she’d caught him. Or rather, how he’d given himself to her so easily.
Exposition: Let’s say, Florence. Or Vienna. Or maybe, if it’s a better fit, Chesterfield. It is said that the Devil twisted the spire of Chesterfield’s St Mary and All Saints church by sitting on it or lashing out at it from the pain caused by his newly clod feet. Hoofs. There’s the market there, obviously, one of Europe’s largest. Or, equally, it could be Florence’s Saint Ambrogio market, or the Viennese Naschmarkt, the Nibbles market. No matter. They’d arrived here a few days ago, all part of a (Christmas) works do, a real treat for the staff, twenty of them. Our hero, Ben: twenty-seven-years old, recently married, a clerk or something, beside himself with absolute love and all of it for Sarah, his heart’s very desire and the truth of all he is etc. of whom his wife knows absolutely nothing despite the fact that she’s noted, of course, the signs, and how these past few weeks her husband has not been eating, has not been attentive, has not been quite the same. Sarah, equally, is as oblivious to Ben’s desires as his wife is. She is also twenty-seven years old, single, lives alone, is dedicated to her job (career, as she calls it), has many good friends and enjoys her freedom at the same time as crying herself to sleep most nights from the sheer loneliness of it all. Her life, that is. And these two are, what, no different to anyone else? As ordinary and as dull as everyone else? Absolutely.
Ben: I think about you night and day, I need you ’cause it’s true, when I think about you I can say, I’m never, never, never, never blue.
Except, of course, it’s not true. Every time this poor, drooling idiot thinks about her – which may as well be all the time – he is far from being never blue. He will get her, he tells himself, because there’s literally nothing else he can do, there are no other options. Anyway, in his confidence he has a useful friend/work colleague who doles out as much useful advice as he thinks he can comfortably get away with – before, you know, he gets found out. It all amounts to the same: tell her how you feel. Just tell her.
He would, Ben, of course, sooner see himself dead then tell her how he feels.
The mundanity of the situation, of us being here before – unrequited love and all that love is etc. – is at least given a bit of fire by the fact of it being so outrageously irritating. His friend is right. Just tell her, for God’s sake, tell her.
It was the following night, as it happened. With the song in – where else? – his heart, he grabbed his chance at the karaoke and sang to her just enough for her to notice that he was singing directly to her. Or, rather, for her friends to notice. A few drinks later and they somehow found themselves alone and, well, it all came out. Everything. She was horrified, flattered, intrigued etc. You know. They spent the night together, walking the streets, swigging on a bottle, arm in arm, nothing untoward, not yet. And eventually, naturally, they embarked on an affair which went the way of all affairs, either one way or the other: a) they drifted apart and got right back to where they were before, or b) they made it together.
The funny thing is, it turned out to be b). Which, if nothing else, only goes to prove that affairs of the heart are often
You know, because the heart speaks wonders while the mind merely plots. Something like that.