Sometimes, you meet someone. It’s an innocuous beginning. You think because of gender or age or social circumstances or education or employment level, oh, that was nice but what on earth could I ever have in common to speak to this person about now that we’ve been introduced? Maybe you’re even a little intimidated, thinking that you couldn’t possibly measure up to the other one’s experience or life wisdom; that they would have no interest in anything you had to say or offer. So you carry on, each in the other’s periphery. Maybe at work, maybe in occasionally intersecting social circles. Then one day, one funny day, one of you makes a remark. And the other responds with a witty comeback. And you look at each other and think—I get that. And you see the exact same reaction in their eyes. And suddenly, you can’t stop talking to each other. You swap jokes and crack each other up. You show up to work dressed exactly the same on the same day, and you’ve never spoken to each other privately. You find yourself growing in their eyes and their gaze on you makes you feel real and alive at last, in spite of other circumstances that are rotten, dragging you further into the muck of your own despair every day. Except for those moments when you speak to them and all the unhappiness disappears, just for that one conversation a day. Then the offer comes to take it further, expand your circle of connection and communication. You know it’s crazy and probably wrong, that there’s no future possible in any scenario but the tie between you is too strong, too incredibly irresistible, and you want to take it as far as you possibly can because you’re greedy for that feeling, that incredible feeling of being vibrant and valuable and wanted and right. So, in spite of all the initial resistance you give in. You succumb to enchantment and realize that you’ve been talking to a wizard the entire time. A wizard who understands not only your mind and your crazy convoluted thought processes but your physical needs and the things you crave and want to hear and feel and experience and do and say and get the reaction from someone else that you’ve never had before and you finally feel the power your own body can have over another person and it’s headier than mead and stronger than meth. You have to be quiet about it, circumspect, but that only adds power to the spell. And when they slide their hand up your leg by the file cabinet, you want to melt into a molten pool on the floor and know you died happy, right then, their hand on you almost in public. And when circumstances change and every day they’re not there, only a voice at the end of a telephone, you go into withdrawal that you try to cover with every kind of activity, kids’ groups and counseling and changing jobs and working day in and day out but they still call and you still talk and once in a great, great while you get to share yourself with them again and no matter how long has passed the flames rise and rise and rise and nothing puts them out but them and you together, even for a few hours. And even then, they’re not out, never out, only banked until the next precious time that you can never anticipate but only pray for. And sometimes you have to leave, move a thousand miles away, find another substitute for love and still they find you and even though you know you’ll never see them again and they know they’ll never see you again you confess to each other over and over, the feeling’s still there, it never died and you both know it never will. And you work and you live and you’re happy and sad and content and you do find love, real, true, honest love that you grab with both hands and wouldn’t screw up for anything, but still it’s them in the back of your head, what are they doing, how is their life, do they think of you? And then there’s an e-mail or another phone call and you know then that just like you, they can’t forget. Till the day they draw their last breath, just like you, they can’t forget even though some-fucking-how 30 years have gone by and you have no idea what they look like anymore and you wouldn’t want them to see you again, but the voice is the same, the same, the music hasn’t changed, the magic hasn’t changed. And in the pauses between the banal words of daily activities and news of grandchildren, you want to scream, don’t you understand, you idiot, I still love you, will always love you, no matter what I’ll never stop loving you, I don’t care that I’ll never again see you, touch you, taste you, hold you. I just love you, that’s all and that’s all it ever was from the moment we laid eyes on each other. But you don’t say it because there are the pauses and inside them you know they’re thinking the same thing. You know it. And sometimes it happens just like that.