Then She Was Gone

by Joshua Paul Greene

I First saw her when I was making my way to my table.  She was beautiful and natural and had this familiar, simple smile on her face.  She was done up in a southern casual way and looked pretty enough for church on easter sunday, but she didn’t see me and just kept on smiling and talking to the man standing beside her table.

I found a seat a few tables down and sat with my back to the wall so I could watch her over the top of my book.  I always like sitting in corners because it makes for the best people watching: You can sit there and watch folks go about their business and not get all tangled up in it.

Anyhow, I sat there watching this girl across the room and I’m pretty sure she was the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.  I noticed the little things about her face – about her mannerisms – that reminded me of old friends, even of old lovers.  In a way I wanted to figure out what it was that made her so freaking attractive, but at the same time I was fine leaving it unexplained.  It somehow left a bit of the mystery in the whole thing.  Over and over again I found that I had stopped reading completely just to stare at her and over and over again I would start reading again half hoping she had noticed my awe-struck glances and half praying she hadn’t.

Everyone else in the room seemed to vanish as I stole peaks in her direction; at least until the tan, southern housewife-like woman sat down between myself and my dream lady.  She was strange-looking…  She had that look as if she had never even thought that maybe things weren’t quite right in this world we inhabit.  I guess you could call it complacency?  Yes.  She looked like a complacent oompaloompa.

I think she may have thought I was looking at her because I caught her eye a few times.  That was admittedly a bit awkward.

So I went back to reading, but I was too busy thinking about the girl a few tables down to really take in the words of the page.  So I gave it up again in hopes of seeing a few more seconds of her elegance.

But when I looked up, she was gone.  It was as simple as that.  The table was empty, the chairs still pushed out and she was nowhere to be seen.  Almost as though she had never been there at all – as though she was only another dream in which for me to find solace and then disappointment.