Everything she did carried with it the solemn grace of a ritual. Her mornings were alike, but never the same.
She’d walk out on the balcony of her small flat to stretch her arms and legs and breathe in the new day. Her lungs filled with something more than just air, something exhilarating and fresh, wearing a pair of black shorts and a white undershirt, her naked feet caressing the marbled floor, she’d smile at the lethargic city.
“Good morning, Paris,” she’d whisper, staring at the Eiffel Tower cutting through an angry sea of buildings, cars, and noises.
As the new day rushed through her veins, her smile would grow bigger and bigger. Her smile screamed of life and passion and love. Her smile was life.
She’d spend a few moments of quiet contemplation, thinking about what was old and what was new, about what could be, what had been, and what could no longer be. Her smile always faded away… and when it did, she knew she’d have to wait until the next day to regain it.
Then she’d walk over to the kitchen, eat an apple or an orange, drink some juice. Then she’d get dressed and go out for a walk…
She was the kind of woman men don’t really know what to do with. She was untamable, unconquerable, and, quite frankly, obnoxiously beautiful. She’d walk around in brightly colored dresses and the world seemed to stop. Just for a moment, and the moment stretched and stretched and stretched for as long as it had to.
When she caught a guy staring at her, she’d give him a wicked smile. She didn’t mind the attention. On the contrary, she’d accept almost anything they had to give her. A flower, a smile, a kiss. She collected first kisses… she was looking for the right man to kiss her in just the way she had imagined back when she thought fairy tales had once happened for real.
No, she didn’t want a Prince Charming; just someone who would feel life just the way she felt it, someone who could see the world just the way she saw it every morning when the sun rose sluggishly from his grave.
She was looking for a soul-mate, for that half that’s missing on our coldest and loneliest nights.
They tried, and she tried, yet something was missing. Something always did.
She was beautiful.
She was beautiful when she smiled. You know, you couldn’t help not smile with her. She was beautiful when she laughed; made you want to laugh with her. She was beautiful when she slept. You know, in that vulnerable state, her eyes closed, her breaths even, her tiny lips closed. She was so beautiful she made you feel alive. She was so beautiful the first time I saw her I wanted her to have the greatest name ever invented. You know, something unique.
Her name was Layla, and she was beautiful.
I never really talked to her, never got the courage to do it, even though we’ve been neighbors for over a year now. I don’t know why. The first time I saw her, I had to paint her, I had to get her out of my head and place her in the center of a canvas. For a few days, it worked. I would stare at her portrait, at what I felt was my best work yet, and it felt almost as if she was there with me.
I’m sure you know all about love. They teach you that in high school. Whether you like it or not, you fall in love. You get your heart broken. You cry.
Some fight for their love, some never get the chance. Some even die. We all know everything there is to know about love. Even before we’re allowed to know, before our parents come into our room and try to find out how much we do know.
But we never learn, we never really understand. What it means to have the same dream, day and night, in the bus, or when taking a shower.
When you eat.
When you paint.
And this makes you feel bitter at times, makes you feel weak.
Because there’s only one lesson to be learned in this life. We’re alone. In the end, most probably when we need help the most, we realize we’re alone. We have to fight our way through life.
Life’s a battle. And we’re alone.
So why is it that we need someone else? Why is it that we have to feel as if there’s something missing, something that’s been taken away from us, something that only another person can give us?
Something that can’t be bought.
Something that can’t be stolen.
Something that can’t be defined or understood.
Something we all need, something we all want.
And when you find it, that’s when you’re complete. That’s when all your dreams become possible, no matter how crazy they really are. When your biggest fears die.
You’re not afraid anymore.
You’re not alone anymore.
I always see her walk out on the balcony…
It’s not much. Trust me. It’s not much. She doesn’t see me. She doesn’t know I exist.
I don’t really know much about her. I don’t want to find out more. She’s perfect, that’s what I know. And I want to believe that. I want her to be the muse every artist needs.
Obnoxiously beautiful. Impossibly out of reach.
That way I can build the perfect love, the perfect ending.
A happy ending.
I can only imagine how it would feel like to see her walk out on that balcony from inside her apartment.
The truth is that I imagined her into existence until I became afraid she’d turn out to be different.
For a while I’d tell myself that every time we’d bump into each other on the stairs. She’d stare at me and smile, and I’d stare down at the ground and whisper that I’m sorry.
She’d laugh and ask what for?
And I’d never answer.
They say the only thing stronger than fear is hope. They also say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your prince. I’m afraid I’ll turn out to be just another frog, yet I hope… I still hope…