I met him on the stairs. I didn’t really meet him. It was more of a glance, an extended glare, on my part at least. He wore jeans and a plain T-shirt, Nike boots and his hair was messy. He looked at me, but I don’t think my face registered. It was an empty look, blank and void of purpose. He was on London autopilot, pacing away through his day, probably hiding from the things that really bothered him; doing the things he did every day, things that felt familiar.
He had headphones on and I think I heard ‘Green Garden’ playing, or was it just me, obsessing about the song the past month? His face was inhabited by thoughts and looked as though moths were bothering it. You could see the lines form on his forehead. Wrinkles come with age, not ageing. I wanted to ask him about his troubles, but I didn’t know his name. Then again, what’s in a name?
I didn’t catch the colour of his eyes; it was only a moment after all, but what I do remember is the dark circles. He wasn’t the type to get them from smoking. It must have been all those sleepless nights, the moths that would not let him rest, the thoughts that were never ripe to be turned into action.
His lips were dry, torn and beaten. If I could ever kiss him I would choose now. He could save his best kisses for girls on a Friday night, next to the river when he would pretend to be something he already was. I wanted to kiss him now, to soothe him, to relieve him.
That’s when it happens you know, love. When nobody is looking and somebody doesn’t know he is being watched. There is no stage or bright lights; there is no soundtrack or build up, there is just the big city. It’s a short-lived moment, a silent tick of the clock that cannot be captured, saved or revisited. It feels like a blow of cold air in the centre of your stomach, a stream of feelings you did not instruct, cannot control and do not recognise. Maybe this is the closest we come to love you know, that unexpected moment with a stranger on the stairs, on the bus, in the neighbourhood café. Before the mind goes to work and starts to contemplate, to expect, and to demand.
Maybe it’s that moment, when we know nothing about the person in front us, but we feel like we know everything there is to know. When all bets are off and all possibilities are there for the taking.
About the author
Antonis Kazoulis is 25, with a Business Management degree and is now pursing a Masters in Creative Writing. He wants to write about the city, modern life and the way people come to London, or go to cities to find true liberation, realize their potential and discover their dreams.