From her life, a story grows. The roots are in every choice she’s ever made. The branches are in the things she said. The leaves are her words, each one delivered slowly and with care. She came into my life and went I know not where. When I met this woman, she asked me what I loved. She ignored the useless talk of what I do and where I come from. We walked down the street together, opening our mail. Meaningless messages and empty words, some bills. She said she would take the long way to work, because that allowed her more time to ponder and wander. I wanted to follow her, but I didn’t dare.
We met again the following day. She was in a rush this time, but you couldn’t tell by the grace with which she moved. She took all of her mail and threw it into a trash can. There might have been something important in there. There never is, though. She raised her hand to me, almost a wave but barely worth the energy.
We met again the following day. She was eating a pear and walking ever so slowly. She asked me to join her. We spoke of our childhood dreams and our favorite parts of the city. We walked through the park, even though it was in the opposite direction of where either of us worked. At a certain hour, I told her I must go fulfill my obligations. She rolled her eyes at me and said, what is time worth? I pondered this sentence until I went to sleep that night.
The following day, I didn’t see her. I wondered where she was, who she was with, what she was doing. Had she even gotten to work that day? The entire morning, I couldn’t get my mind off of her. The entire afternoon, I completely forgot who she was. The only way I could concentrate.
We met again the following day. I asked her to join me for dinner somewhere. She asked me which night. I said any night that she can. She said next Thursday. I agreed. The time until that day fluctuated between complete submersion in my thoughts of this woman and complete ignorance of her existence. The winds swayed me these ways again and again.
When Thursday came, we met in the lobby, where we had met again and again. I decided I needed to do something out of the ordinary, to impress her. I had a local chef deliver a three course dinner, perfectly plated, to us, at a picnic in the park. I hoped the combination of refined taste and wild atmosphere would entice her. But the park isn’t wild, not nearly wild as her. It cost me several week’s wages, but she seemed to like it. I had never felt more triumphant.
I didn’t see her for a week after that. I wondered if she was avoiding me. She came to the lobby the following day and asked me if I had seen her dog. I had never seen her with a dog, so I had no idea what she was talking about. I didn’t see her for a week after that.
Then one day, she was directing movers to remove her things from the building. She was done here, done with me, done with us all. I asked her if she had changed jobs, and where she was moving to. She said she had quit her job, and didn’t need it anyway. I asked her how she would pay her bills, she said she didn’t need bills to live. She only needed inspiration. I asked her if I inspired her. She said I did. I asked why she was leaving, she said she couldn’t live here without her dog anymore. Everything reminded her of him.
A branch of her story tree was weeping, and she was uprooting herself.
I never saw her again.