'Every Time the Wall Breaks Down' by Jane Roberts

I know as soon as I see you. It will be. It is destiny. Kismet. Painted in the stars.

I pick up your scarf from the vacant chair in the restaurant. The colours are so vibrant. So you. Peacock-blue. With pink cherry blossom flowers dotted about it in a wave of right-angled celebration. So precise. I know it is your scarf. I just know it.

I look at you, look at the scarf. I calculate that I have about twenty seconds to say – what? Something. Anything. The scarf makes it easier, more natural.

“E-excuse me”, I stammer. “I-I think t-this is yours?”

“No. It isn’t mine”, you reply. So. Casually. As. If. It. Doesn’t. Mean. Diddly. Squat.

You turn away.

“I think you’re wrong.” My stammer vanishes, overcome by a crescendo of pluck.

This. Is. The. Bravest. Moment. Of. My. Life.

Because I’ve come so far already, I can’t turn back. It would all be for nothing. And there’s too much nothing in my life.

You turn to face me again. You look at the scarf. But then – far better – you look at me. You look into my eyes and hold my gaze with those deep peacock-blue irises that so match this scarf.

“I really think it belongs to you”, I say with such force that I can almost feel my words torpedoing out of my mouth, hitting the surface of your face, and then slapping my raspberry cheeks back on the boomerang return journey. So. Embarrassing.

And then…you smile…and the wall breaks down. The rupturing moment those invisible bricks fall down about us – oh how they rain down! – makes me smile too. We are smiling. In unison. Together. A shared moment. Without walls.

You take the scarf, thank me, and ask me my name – you ask me my name! Then you depart with a smile flicked back from the very corner edge of your shoulder. Like you’re extending an inner part of your soul to me, like suddenly you don’t want to leave.

And I know that when you see me again you will say something. And I will say something. And someday – when we’re good friends – I might gain the courage to do it all again.


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