He couldn’t remember if it had happened in a dream, or in reality.  When he brought this up, he was told that
this concept was a documented one.  The name of it escaped his mind, but he remembered the idea: when
everything is the same, but nothing is familiar.  He could feel the drop of the icicle as it made its way down his
spine.
      As was his routine, he had arrived at school 20 minutes before the first bell rang.  He took his usual seat in
the Mall area, the large carpeted section of the lobby that was supposed to be senior territory.  It was only the
second week of school, but he had already slid comfortably into the mind-set of the top level of the student
aristocracy.
      The uncomfortable chair was of no concern to him, nor was the conversation of the two other girls sitting at
the table.  His mind’s eye was focused on the entrance, where one of them was bound to enter at any minute.  He
would usually see Lauren first, the short blonde sophomore whom he had just recently discovered his feelings for.  
She would always quickly wander out of sight.  Aimee would come next, the dark-haired, dark-eyed senior
whom he had shed his soul over time and time again.  Aimee would enter the Mall and begin a conversation with
those sitting at his table, but their eyes would never meet.
      It was a long, three-period wait before he would see either one of them again.  While he made his way down
the hall towards the Gym, Aimee would be making her way up the very same hall.  The sand of regret sifting
through his fingers, he would make sure to hold on to whatever he could by catching that glimpse.  A glimpse was
all he could get, but it was enough to keep his hands from going smooth.
      Occasionally, before lunch he could steal another glance at Aimee.  Before lunch, he would always make his
way to the men’s room, and just across from that entrance; she would sometimes be waiting on the line outside
the women’s room.  He had no line, so the glance could never become anything more than a glance.  If it were her
lunch period, he would have positioned himself in the cafeteria so that he could feed his eyes the sweet taste of her
beauty whenever he wanted.  But this was her off period, and she was in the Mall while he filled his stomach,
leaving his soul unnourished.
      Two periods later, he finally received his first chance of studying Lauren.  It was his off time, and her lunch
period, so he sat in the Mall while she ate in the cafeteria.  If he was lucky, he could spot her through the gate, and
keep his eye on her as she ate.  At the sound of the bell, he would wait until she passed by, and then he would
follow behind her until they reached the stairwell.  His emotions radiated outward from him like a nuclear
explosion, and he doubted that she was oblivious to them.
      It was only one period before the next sighting.  A simple sacrifice of his trip to the bathroom would win him
a chance to walk by her as she passed him in the opposite direction.  Unlike with Aimee, his eyes would
frequently meet with Lauren’s.  No words were ever exchanged however, because he’d found out the hard way
that no words from his mouth would ever win Lauren’s favour.  When it came to Aimee, there were far too many
words from the past to permit their eyes from ever meeting again.
      With the last bell, he would wander the halls in hopes to possibly see one of them once more before the end
of the day.  He would search for them, just hoping for one last taste of the delightful pain, the delicious bittersweet
taste of rejection.
      His history with Aimee was long and filled with anguish, while his history with Lauren was virtually non-
existent, although he had known of her since the 6th grade, and he lived so close that he could see her house from
his backyard.  Not so long ago it had seemed that nobody could ever take Aimee’s place in his heart, yet for
some reason this young beauty did.  Her silence and her constant expressionless face set something ablaze in his
heart.  He thought he could see a sort of pain behind her eyes, and he thought that this might be the same pain he
had only known too much of.
      Now, Aimee was more of a relic, a story of the past that he did not want to let go of.  He had watched her
grow from a beautiful young woman to a childish little girl.  There was no passionate desire when he saw her
anymore.  There was only the Love that had been stronger than anything his world had ever known, and now lay
only in shadows.  Still, he would not let go.  Having held on for over a thousand days, he knew he would never let
go.  His grip may have been what had prevented him from reaching for Lauren, or it may have been because
Lauren had never seemed to want to speak to him, or that Lauren already had a boyfriend.
      Long ago, he had fallen victim to his own emotions.  He discovered Love at an age in which emotion
overpowered wisdom.  It was an age where Sara, one year older than he was, had been ages apart.  As time
went on, heart-break after heart-break made him wise beyond any measure of years, but by then Sara was gone.  
And just as she disappeared into memory, so would Aimee and Lauren.
      Every night, he would walk out onto his driveway, light up a cigarette and lean against his car.  Lauren would
always be standing beside him, and he could always talk to her as though she did Love him.  However, this was
not enough.  He knew she would be there if he actually believed she was there, but his mind would not allow such
an illusion.
      But the highlights of his days were always the nights.  As his mind slipped into sub-consciousness, he could let
go of all the boundaries that held him to reality.  In his dreams, he could have long conversations with Aimee.  He
could dance to unwritten music with Lauren in his arms.  He could watch a performance with Aimee, cut class
with Lauren, and rescue them from drowning.  They could be in Love with him; his emotions could be shared.
      Upon waking to the voice of Roger Waters, he would get out of bed in the morning for another chance to see
their faces, and turn his unrequited love into a dagger to be repeatedly shoved into his heart like a jackhammer.  
This, he believed, would make the feeling all the more sweet when he finally awoke once again.
      And he would always wake up every night into a world where his conscious mind no longer had him bound
to his pain.  He would awake into a world where anything was possible, where he could pick her up and fly away
to experience the beauty of the world inside his mind.  It was a world where nothing is the same, but everything is
familiar.  He would wake up, and put out his hand just to touch her soft hair to make sure in the darkness that she
was still there.  But he would have to admit he was always just a little afraid.
Another Moment Alone
Kem Stone - October 2001