Have you ever seen someone and fallen in love with them? Not met, or talked to, just seen. Not wanted to fuck or thought was hot, fell in love with. I have.
I suppose I didn't love her really, but I can't think of a different word for it.
It was at a rest-stop along the Jersey Turnpike. I was with Dan and Karen and Patrick and we were headed home from visiting the Lower Nappi's in northern Jersey. I suppose Liz and Ralph stayed to hang in the city or some shit. It was winter and Patty was maybe a year old. Karen and Dan were buying food or in the bathrooms or something and I was just kicking it with Patrick at a table. I think I was holding him and I was wearing a Mad XC sweatshirt.
Anyway I look around and I see what appears to be a high school track team enter the rest-stop from a big charter bus. They break into small groups and head to different places to eat or whatever and one girl looks at me. She had light brown hair, a red XC hoodie that said some school name and one of the prettiest faces I have ever seen. Her hood was up and her hair was coming out on either side of her face. She had these blue eyes...
So she looked right at me, and I looked right back at her. I don't know how long we just sat there and looked at each other, four seconds maybe. She had this look in her eyes... I can't put it into words. But the look in her eyes was how I felt. Tired and sad and confused and overwhelmed by life, but holding it together because that is what strong people do, and we were strong people. Then her friends said something to her and she looked away. Karen and Dan came back, we ate dinner and left.
That was it. But I thought about her for the rest of the trip home. And after. Fuck here I am years and years later, a different life than I ever thought I'd live and she just popped back into my mind for some fucking reason. I wonder what her name is, if she still runs, if she's happy, if she's alive, if she ever thinks about the guy she stared at at a rest-stop on the Jersey Turnpike and if she's still strong.
I hope she is, because I still love her.