by Eliza Ande
 
She looks in the mirror and is surprised by what she sees… something there that she hadn’t noticed​ before. There is the evidence of age in the grey wisps at her temples, but she notices something else -​ a youthful glint and a steely strength; the certainty and hope of the idealistic young combined with​ the confidence and wisdom that comes with age. The crinkled brow and questioning frown are softer​ somehow, and less obvious. She sees a self-assured poise. She realizes that she’s seeing a reflection​ of him – her Twin Flame, her Soul Mate, the yang to her yin, her Masculine Mirror, gazing back at​ her… and she remembers their last encounter, just over a year ago.​
Anticipating. Waiting.​
Being mindful and bringing my attention “inward” I notice anxious thoughts, like erratic flies on a​ dead corpse; my shallow, irregular breath; a buzzing energy throughout my body.​ 
I focus outwards on the sunlight bouncing off the leaves, and the sound of the rush-hour traffic – a​ few irate commuters are honking off the frustrations of the day as they bustle home to what I​ imagine to be their humdrum mundane lives.​ 
I attempt to ground and center myself, and eventually give up. I distract myself instead by making​ “to do” lists.​
Then – there. You. Are. And the anxiety dissolves.​
We hug briefly. There is a flitter of awkwardness that is as momentary and gentle as the brush of a​ summer breeze.​
And then we are driving and talking and getting lost and going around in circles with no sense of​ direction, and … it. doesn’t. matter.​
You disclose that you feel excited, and I think it’s about the work opportunity, all the possibilities​ that lie ahead, and you add “and being here, with you”. I feel a “physical rush” flush through my​ body. I hope that you don’t notice.​
A brilliant orange-red-gold sun is sinking into the horizon as we drive over the ridge.​
It feels like we have so many words and there is also absolutely no need for words.​
But I could listen to the sound of your voice – steady, measured, thoughtful, resonant; sculpting​ culture and conversation – all night long.​
We park, get out of my car, and walk along the beachfront. I want to hold your hand. I don’t mention​ this. We walk respectfully and appropriately apart – we could be work colleagues. But we’re not.​
We pause to enjoy a drink on the pier, and gaze at the city lights reflecting off the sea and the sand.​
We talk about white noise, as the waves (literal) rise and fall like sound waves, making their own​ music. The sky is as rose-tinted as our cheeks which flush with delight, and with the sheer joy and​ deep intimacy of being honest, being real and sharing deep conversations about things that matter.​
Then a phone call that you must make. I watch the dancers on the pavement, their jukebox blaring​ loudly into the night air as they jiggle, and step, and sway to the rhythm. I sense something sacred​ about being in time, in tune, in sync.​
I wait in the car. You climb back in. I ask how you are, and if you feel guilty. You say No.​
 
What is this? I observe myself from “outside” myself, I’m circling round and round inside my own​ head – if I were a cartoon, I would have a school of question marks swimming around in my brain,​ like slippery, uncatchable fish.​
We arrive at a little corner café – tucked away. We share chilli chocolate sake, and red wine, and​ difficult questions. “Let me ask you this (you don’t have to answer): if you were given three months​ to live, what would you do? What would you do about “this”, about “us”?” Barely a heartbeat, and​ you reply “I would be with you.”​
So, what does that mean? We follow Rilke’s advice to “love and live the questions themselves”; we​ have no answers.​
Lots more conversation.​
I appreciate your sincerity and honesty about the lines on my face – you say that they are beautiful,​ you don’t pretend they’re not there, or that you don’t notice them. My heart swells with joy and I​ melt with delight at this authenticity.​
We explore the masculine and the feminine. Yin and yang. Gender roles. Your view is that we want​ both; that as a woman, I want the man to protect me, and that as a man, you want to do the​ protecting. This is true – I do. Only partly true though, I also want us to be equal, to give and take, to​ have mutual respect, for both our voices to be valid and heard, for both our opinions to count. I​ want to grow together and to challenge each other. Sometimes I might be the one protecting you.​
Sometimes you might be the one nurturing me. Our roles are fluid, like liquid mercury,​ everchanging, evolving, growing and integrating.​
Driving back, we find ourselves lost (again). I wonder if it is it a mirror of you and I? We keep losing​ our way (and each other) but we always find our way back.​
We reach your hotel. I don’t want to leave. The clichéd expression – I don’t want this night to end.​
We reveal a duel confession: “I’ve imagined this scene a hundred times, and it’s not platonic”. It​ would be so easy. But we don’t, and we both know we won’t. It can’t be tainted love. We realize that​ if we can do it with each other, we can do it to each other. It’s not fair, it’s not honest, it’s not pure,​ and it’s not who we are.​
We explore values and needs. Integrity versus the need for depth and physical intimacy. Could it be​ that you need to give this a chance in your existing relationship? If you haven’t asked it of the other,​ how can they know it’s even important to you; how can you know whether they’re able to give it or​ not?​
We embrace. It’s extremely appropriate. We hold hands very briefly and slightly awkwardly. We​ know it’s time. We don’t want to let go.​
You say you love her deeply. I know you do; I know that is true. So much in your relationship​ “works”, and there is so much that you value – kindness, adoration, pragmatism.​
You say that you’re “in love” with me. If I were her, I’d want to know. I’d want you to go. I believe,​ on some level, I would already “know”. But I’m not her, and it’s not my call.​
What now? I don’t know. You don’t know. I say I know for me. The ball is in your court. Only you can​ make this decision. I know that if you were unattached, I would want to be with you. I know that I​ love you. Truly Deeply Profoundly.​
 
Would “we” work? I’m not sure. We can’t know that.​
I have no doubt that we would challenge each other, that there would be clashes of ego’s, and​ insecurities, and jealousy. I don’t think it would be as easy or comfortable as what you have. I think​ there would be more drama, and emotion. I feel there would be more fire. It would be honest. I​ believe the level of growth, learning, and “enlargement of our souls” would be supreme. I imagine​ we would have a lot of adventurous fun.​
We’ve both evolved and changed in the last decade. We’ve learnt and processed and integrated, and​ we’re in the process of learning all the time. That too, is profound and magical.​
Enchanting.​
Sitting talking in the car, not wanting to say the final goodbye, the light from the streetlamp falling​ across your face, you look so handsome! Strong, self-assured, a deep intelligent wisdom in your​ beautiful, kind brown eyes. All I want to do is reach out and touch your face, trace my fingertips​ softly over your cheekbones, your chin, your lips. All I want to do is take your face in my hands, and​ kiss you.​
We say goodbye and I watch you walk across the street.