The following is a work of fiction. The characters are fictional. Any resemblance of characters to real people is a mere coincidence and unintentional.
She was there once upon a time. She made me feel so free and yet so bound. It was a freedom I could never have, a morsel I could never consume. Have you ever had time stop, just stop, to savor a moment? I go back to that moment all the time.
"Mark, the Johnson's are here," said Mary, my wife, so gleefully. It was our Christmas party at our home in Kirkwood, Missouri. Kirkwood was a small suburb of St Louis. We had invited many friends and family. Ralph Johnson was Mary's boss. He was a very giving man, a good friend to anyone who needed a friend. He brought her. The moment I lay my eyes on her, it was like my heart stopped, and motion in the room halted. I could feel gravity anymore. Then and all of the sudden, reality started back up again.
"Meet Ralph and Emily," said Mary making the obvious introductions. The sounds of the many people in the room and in the living room became louder.
"Nice to meet you," I said shaking Ralph's hand. I turned to take her hand to give the same greeting. Something happened when our fingers met. Something extraordinary, and yet it was....what should I say...sweet, no, beyond sweet more like passionate. I looked into her eyes and it was as if I knew her forever. I knew who and what she was from the beginning of time. Her gaze told me she felt it too.
"Nice to meet you...huh...Emily, is it?" I stammered.
"Yes. Yes it is. And you must be Mark. Nice to meet you too," she said. Her voice was familiar. So familiar like I had known it all my life.
"Take their coats, dear," said Mary. There goes reality again.
"Yes, of course." They handed me their coats and I took them upstairs with the rest of the guests coats were.
As I returned to the party, music was going and people were dancing. Mary and Ralph were dancing and having a good time. Emily was standing by herself. I joined her. She handed me a cup of punch.
"It seems like they are having a good time. Like they have some kind of office romance going on," she said.
"Mary? No. I can't imagine a good guy like Ralph would do it either."
"No, I guess he wouldn't." Did I hear some disappointment in her voice?
A slow song started to play, and she took me out to the floor. We held our bodies close. Her hand on my chest and mine on her waist. It was heaven.
"Have we met before?" she asked.
"No. But I could've sworn so."
"Me too." Her face was quizzical, like she was searching for an answer but none was found. We continued dancing. The floor, ceiling, room, and guests seemed to have flown away and we were dancing in space.
The moment came. It was a magnetic or a gravitational pull. Our lips drew closer. I was aware of it and so was she. Our lips accelerated towards each other. Soon they were going to meet.
Then I stopped, and she stopped. The room and the guests returned. We were still dancing to the same song. Nothing had happened. Nothing, to anyone else.
"I love my wife." I whispered.
"And I love my husband," she whispered back.
"We have our own lives."
"Yes, yes we do."
The song stopped, and we retreated from the floor. We met Ralph and Mary by the punch bowl. I stood by my wife, and she by her husband.
"What a great time this is," Mary laughed. Ralph and Emily agreed. Then she was just another guest, one of many. The party went on until its usual end. The guests left, coats were confused over, and the mess remained.
"Oh! I'm beat," said Mary.
"It was an exhausting night," I lied. I felt duty to agree with Mary at that moment. Yet, I still felt quite vigorous. I took Mary in my arms and kissed her passionately. It wasn't like with her, but it was familiar.
Yet, I go back to that moment again and again, thinking of what could have been. I suppose if it never was it couldn't have been lost. In spite of my reasoning, I still felt loss.