The only part of us that mattered

Once, when I was happily, deliriously weaving my way home from some party, in my young-womanhood, desperately seeking -— what? I suppose, love and admiration — I found it.

I would often walk home under the street lamps, on the wide sidewalk of my suburban town’s busiest road. Sundress and heels, or maybe mens’ boots, depending on the mood; fashion was of utmost importance either way. I was a reveller in beauty, loved beauty, hounded beauty, my own (whatever of it that I could muster, or magic) and that of others. But I could never get enough and never be enough, to satisfy myself. 

Anyway, I would always walk home, from the bar or a party, if I could, even as much as five kilometres, sometimes more. Much rather do that than spend my money on a cab, thrifty student that I was; much rather do that than face the end of the night, and the privileged responsibilities of day. I never wanted the fun to end. And I would always go alone, if I could, though I’d have chivalrous offers to be accompanied. I wanted to be alone, and away from all that thriving togetherness I’d just experienced, yet I also still wanted to be seen and known, yet again by strangers, who were less committed and more impressionable; I wanted to be sought and found, though remaining clearly unidentified; and I was seeking too, always seeking.

And I would walk along that busy four-lane road, which wasn’t quite as busy after midnight, but still busy and well-lit enough to be safe, as well as a little dangerous. I would hope for connection, momentarily and potentially menacing, but eternally safe, and under my seeming, dreaming control. And often I would find it. 

It’s amazing how lucky I was. Very little bad ever happened. I craved likes and loves, which didn’t yet exist in the form of digital hearts and stars and thumbs-up, but only in honks and whistles and whoops and shouts, shouts of joy and appreciation from other freedom-riders. And if I played it safe I would pretend not to notice, and I would chastely study the thrumming cracks in the sidewalk, or the strumming street lamps; but sometimes, when the freedom had whipped itself into a frenzy in my heart and I was ecstatic from the revelling at the party I’d just left, and from the emptiness and loneliness of my denouementic walk, I would smile beaming back, from the crescendo of our suddenly conjoined beat.

Of course, there were some backhanded derogative remarks, or silent stares of disapproval from the self-righteous multitudes, and those would cut and burn to the core, instilling change for ever more; but those were less plentiful or visible than the likes, so I persisted in my seeking stride, and in my spangled angelitude.

So one time this guy, beautiful soul, was walking the other way down the sidewalk, walking towards me and I toward him. And I was studying the stars and aiming to study the stars as hard as I could, while smiling angelically, for I yearned for true connection but didn’t know how to get it, and I didn’t know what to do with it when I found it, so I was genuinely shy and genuine, as well as subtly bold and manipulative, for that’s how the world had raised me to be, in its cunning cradle. And this young guy (well, older than me at the time, I’d guess), fell for it, or saw through it, or was doing the same dance himself perhaps, and he said something, I don’t remember what, maybe just “hi,” but the meaning clear in his voice, was, in my own heart’s translation at least, “you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid eyes on.” Or maybe he said that out loud. All I know is my heart interpreted love emanating from this other being, and I was so glad to receive it, and my heart gave it back.

And it was Christmas eve, or nearing it maybe, and he convinced me to come with him to wherever he lived, just around the corner it was, and though you may be getting an anxious feeling or a sordid one right now, you needn’t worry, for we never touched, except perhaps fingertips for a millisecond, or maybe hearts for a millennium, and if hearts, it was through layers of cotton and jersey, that much is certain; though if so, I don’t remember and it didn’t matter at all if we did or didn’t, for that was inconsequential and existential to the moment, if we did; our union was spiritual, not physical, though certainly fuelled by molecular substance.

And all he did was say a bunch of drunken, loving things, such as that I was like an angel, which pleased my equally-or-perhaps-slightly-less-drunken self to sky’s end, since that was exactly what I had been trying to be, out there striding on the sidewalk in the well-lit dark — an angel; and he said I’d changed his life but I don’t know why, though I wondered well enough, and didn’t ask; and it was certainly more like he’d changed mine, in that moment, by giving me some kind of confirmation of a half-truth that I’d been yearning for, which is what I likely told him truthfully, in return.

So we exchanged all these loving words, this stranger and I, whose face I don’t remember much at all, except his eyes, which contained the universe, and blazed like stars, and then he took an angel from his tree and handed it to me, as a parting gift. And then I thanked him profusely, and I left, and he let me go, reluctantly but gladly and generously, and we were both smiling, and with love in our eyes, and we neither of us cared, I’m sure, that’d we’d never meet again, for we certainly would; or at least, the only part of us that mattered.





Image credit: screen-shotted from via a quick DuckDuckGo image search using keywords “tree angel art pinterest.” (Artist unnamed at that site; though by doing a reverse Google Image search, traced the Gif portion of the credit to the legally-blind, amazing motion artist and innovator, George RedHawk.)

Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Zone of Emptiness, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎

28 thoughts on “The only part of us that mattered

  1. This reminds me of those heady teen years, before we were old enough to drive, when we would get dropped off at the mall for the day. We’d run around looking for the cute girls to flirt with, possibly get their number to chat with into the late, late, late hours. What a hopeless dork I was, caught up in my youth. But man, were those fun (and innocent) times.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Right? So fun, and so innocent, and so prudishly wild…

      As for the teen years at the mall, for my girlfriends and me that was a hallowed time strictly reserved for spending our monthly clothing allowance (which was $40 from the Canadian government, if one was lucky enough to have parents that conferred the responsibility of spending it wisely on the heads of their teens); and spend it wisely my friends and I did (thank you, Madonna, such an inspiration 😆)

      Sounds like you were a very nice teen Aeryk. :))

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I was a dork, that’s for damn sure. All “my” best lines lifted straight from the movies (mostly Real Genius), mullet (so I could get the job and still rock the long hair), and half shirts (showing off the rippling ribcage). Ugh, GAWD. It was terrible. Thank Christ I was stupid. If I’d KNOWN what I was doing . . .

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ohohohoho… just made me laugh so hard… I was the same. Thankfully stupid. But REAL GENIUS omg I looooooooveeed that movie (and Val Kilmer) I think I watched it like five times which is very, very rare for me. And I only dated guys with mullets. Lol!!!! But no half shirts 🚫👎🙅‍♀️😁(those were reserved for me only).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. In ‘88 or ‘89 we got Real Genius on VHS. I watched it every day after school, and at some point during the day over Summer holiday, that whole year. I’ve watched it once every year or so since. Not too long ago, Alamo Drafthouse brought it back to the big screen for special viewing. That was fun.

            I don’t know why I loved it so much. Empire Strikes back, They Live, Indiana Jones, Evil Dead 2, etc., those I totally know why. Eh, guess it doesn’t really matter. All part of “that time.”

            Liked by 2 people

            1. You really are a movie buff! Empire was one of the first movies I ever saw in a theatre, when I was about 7… scarred me for life. The ice monster! Luke’s hand! 😭 Evil dead 2 😱was brought in to the house by my sister if I remember right, and I think I was so horrified I burned it because I thought it’s evilness was going to leak out of the cassette somehow. Indiana Jones I handled quite well. 🏆😁 I was a rom-com gal mostly, back then, or period comedy-drama… or “artsy”… or musical… some faves were A Room With a View, Enchanted April, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (lol), Fiddler on the Roof, Clerks, many others similar… and then, somehow, there was Real Genius. Maybe it was simply the perfect mix of rom-com plus nerd (oh and Val Kilmer. ;))

              Liked by 2 people

  2. “…fingertips for a millisecond, or maybe hearts for a millennium..” WOW! That communicates a veritable truth. Eyes, and flesh, for a moment. Hearts, love, for an eternity. Dostoevski, in his Brothers Karamazov, has his character Father Zossima tell us that Life is where we learn to love, and that and that alone, makes it sacred. Thank you, again, Nadine, for showing us that love is the currency of the universe, from the stars to the sidewalks and we all search for it. Love, Dr. Bob

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What? No happy ending?😯 Really Nadine? You had my full undivided attention and I hoped for a fairytale ending 🙂 And yes, I also believe in those sometimes; especially when I wake up on the left side 🤐 I pictured free spirited Nadine daunting onlookers and appreciaters 😊😃😉😆
    Never touched? Yeah right 😎 So you both you starred and admired each other’s presence till sunrise? Whao… OK 😗😋😋😓😓😓 But, but, hang in there Nadine. You may surprisingly bum into him unexpectedly. Two years back on a Black Friday evening along a busy street, I bumped into a long time crush of mine after almost twenty years with no contact, stalking or knowings. I still wonder how I picked her out of a crowd instantly 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahaha! No happy ending! 😆 Sorry to disappoint, Joseph 😊😜 I’m afraid I did a bad job of getting this story across. I left it far too ambiguous. Our strange and lovely random meeting of tipsy souls couldn’t have lasted more than half an hour, and yes we just hung out talking and that was it and for me, I was so happy with it that way! I wouldn’t know him if I saw him and I certainly wasn’t “in love” with him but felt love *for* him as a human being. Also I was grateful to this other human being for being so loving, respectful and kind! And for me it was the perfect ending. i.e. Love is universal and not specific, and can be regenerated time and time again.

      It all sprouted from a diary entry in which the word “angelitude” appeared on the page and then this memory was triggered, and then I rambled on about it, but then I was interrupted by household duties and decided to edit it for clarification, which probably ruined it a fair bit, making it all the more unclear. 😉⛈😄

      Always love your feedback, it’s really helpful!

      Wow that *is* romantic about spotting your long time crush after 20 years! Sounds like a story in the making… 🤓😋🙏

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ooow, it now makes total sense Nadine 😂🤣😏. I thought it was one of those crazy nights out and got to spend the whole night with the stranger, of which nothing happened, including exchange of contact information 😁🍻
        And for my second encounter with a long time crush, it’s actually funny. We got into an evening chat of which she told I about her wedding plans which was scheduled in two weeks 🤷😮
        I felt a bit hurt but happy for her and it sort of gave I closer, so I nothing think about her much or fantasize of how life would be with her 🙄😉🤓

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well to be honest, I’d had many of those crazy nights as well, that’s certainly how I preferred it most of the time 😉😉😇😄

          Aw man, that must have been a bit of heartbreak, just after seeing her again, to find out she was about to get married in two weeks! 😭🤷‍♂️ but at least, as you say, it closes a chapter in the heart as well, and maybe sets one free a little. Maybe that’s what the universe was giving to you then, in that moment… 🦅💙🙏🌠

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Crazy nights are always a blaze 😄😃😃
            It somehow puts a smile on my face whenever I recall it 😗. It actually made I realize why I was so drown to her: her voice whao… 🙄😇🙈

            Liked by 2 people

  4. I have just read this twice and an ready for a third…

    I feel like I know this girl you describe so well, that I too have been her, a mixture of all these things, narcissistic yet insecure, genuine yet manipulative, never wanting the fun to end yet craving the solace and the dark and the silence…. and you write about all of this with such precision and honesty it sends an electrical charge through me. Activating that exact feeling of wanting it all… especially the love.

    This is a truly brilliant piece of writing Nadine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s the most wonderful feeling, to have a piece of writing so perfectly understood, as well as related to… and such a dear gift to me to have your generously expressed thoughts added to this page. You are so kind, thank you so much, Rachel.

      Your poetry has been a major inspiration for me lately, as has your incredibly graceful way of giving feedback and conversation in comments both on your own pages and on others. I see you as a true kindred spirit, but one whom I can learn a lot from.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s a magnificent piece of writing Nadine, and yes, I feel a kindred spirit within you, too. And I see wisdom, grace and kindness and wit and compassion in you. I’m feeling lucky to have come across your work – and you. Hugs to you 💕.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Likewise thank *you* Nina! It’s been a pleasure to connect! And thanks for visiting and reading my words here. I’ve admired yours on your own blog, particularly your truthful yet compassionate way with them. 🙏💕

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, this is really kind, and generous, thank you… I suppose when we let the stream of thought come through, there is indeed a kind of supernatural (or “ultra-natural”?) force at work, so the only credit I can take for that, if any of it shows here, is getting myself to that page, then setting my pesky ego aside, even if just for a moment. ;)) Thanks so much again, for your very kind words 🙏😊

      Liked by 1 person

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