I'm here

I can see her from a distance. I've been watching her for a while. I'm not a stalker, just an observer.

I watch her walk toward the bookstore and I edge closer.

She picks up a brown leather book off a shelf and smiles contentedly as she walks to the couch at very back of the store.

I watch the number of expressions come and go on her face as she devours the book, then suddenly she looks up, as if sensing my eyes on her.

I shrink back as she glances up at the clock and sighs.

Then she turns her attention to the window, the window where I just was.

She looks out searchingly and somewhat desperately and my heart beats harder against my chest.

It was 11:30, I shudder. This was the time we used to meet every Saturday. At this very place, at that very couch at the back of the bookstore, where there were serious conversations and yet playful banter of authors and their books.

She places her hand on the window and a part of me desperately wants to show myself.

She looks down then turns away.

I watch her walk out of the store down the street and out of my sight. As I make my way to the window I can see the book now closed resting on the couch.

A breath catches in my throat as I read the title. Oliver Twist. I place my hand on the window for one moment and then turn, walking in the opposite direction.

We still hold on, and even though I'm gone in so may ways

I'm still here.