by Ryan Power
Tom could hear the gentle plucking of a lute somewhere nearby. A thick haze of rapture and desire engulfed his mind. A rainbow appeared even though it wasn’t raining, leprechauns laughed and danced in a magical far-off land, and Tom choked on his own spit. It was love at first sight.
He recognized her instantly. She had been visiting his dreams for years. Tom watched her curly black hair bounce around her dark features as she walked toward the university library carrying a small mountain of textbooks in her arms. She kicked her foot up to the door handle and twisted her body, opening the door with ninja-like finesse. Tom admired her agility, stubbed out his cigarette, slid a peppermint tic tac through his dry lips, and walked across the courtyard from the cafeteria to the library. He wondered if his eyesight had played some sort of trick on him. Her overpowering allure seemed impossible, as if this goddess of love had come directly from Venus. Tom quickly opened the door and scanned the library. His heart beat so hard that he could feel the blood pound in his temples. He walked past the computers, towards the stairs. When Tom finally saw her sitting in one of the large chairs looking out over the ocean, he knew this was it.
He walked towards her. His hand shook as he cupped it to his mouth to check his breath. His palms were sweaty. Cutting into an aisle to take cover behind the books, he needed to catch his breath and think of an ice breaker. Manically tearing an old receipt in his pocket to shreds, he thought: I’ll ask her for the time. No, that’s lame. I’ll tell her she looks familiar and ask her if we ever had any classes together. No, that’s stupid too. Come on. Yes, I’ll walk over and tell her that she’s beautiful. No, she probably gets that all the time. I guess I could just go and introduce myself. No. I know, I’ll comment on the mountains; she’s been looking at them long enough. She must like mountains.
Tom ran his fingers through his hair to make sure that it had fallen right, covering his hairline where he believed that it had started to recede. He approached from the side, ten metres away. The sunlight poured in through the window, illuminating her gentle features. Her dark eyes shone with an intensity that could cut through bullshit and see right into the heart of life. Her small nose sat above full, red lips. Her smooth, olive skin glowed gloriously. A sudden realization hit him and Tom looked down to see if he had sweat rings in his arm pits. Nope, he was all good. Only five metres now. A magnetic force radiated from her, drawing him closer; he was filled with a voracious desire. His breathing quickened and he could feel the sweat building between his toes. Four metres. He could almost smell her. Three metres. His mouth felt like a desert. His hands tightened nervously into fists. Two metres. His tongue was sandpaper on the roof of his mouth. His nose twitched and he panicked, thinking he might have a stray booger. One metre … oh, she was so close. Electricity was building in the air. Tom breathed in, preparing to pour forth a torrent of smooth, flirtatious energy.
She pulled her phone from her pocket. “Hello?”
Shit, he thought. Abort. He walked past and sat in a chair two over from her. He took a book from his backpack and pretended to read it, flinching and thrusting it back into his bag when he noticed the large pink title: How to Give a Woman Absolute Pleasure.
The curly-haired goddess put her phone away, got up, and walked upstairs. Tom followed just far enough behind that she wouldn’t notice. She walked towards the large study area in the far corner, paused for a second, then turned and started back towards another study area in the other corner. Tom jumped into an aisle and held his finger out at the call numbers, pretending to search for some all-encompassing book of wisdom as she walked by.
Damn, she’s turned me into a stalker, he thought, looking around the corner. Her hips swung and her dark curls bounced with rhythm as she walked down the aisle. His knees buckled and he grew faint. Tom grabbed the bookshelf to steady himself. This is it. This is my defining moment. One day we’ll be an elderly couple sitting in wooden rocking chairs on a rickety old porch looking back at this. The kind of moment in which dreams become reality and love conquers the world. I’m going to walk up to her and poetically express my love of nature—especially mountains. I’ll look her right in the eye and she’ll be like, “Oh wow, this guy gets it.” Then I’ll whisper in her ear and she’ll swoon. She’ll know it’s love at first sight so I’ll lean in for a juicy kiss. Then, after we break apart, she’ll look deep into my eyes and say that she’s been waiting for me for her whole life. Then she’ll pull out a couple tickets to Jamaica and say, “These babies are for us. I just won them from the radio station. You wanna go for a trip?” And I’ll be like, “Hells yeah.” Then, I’ll reach out and give her a high five and we’ll skip out of the library hand-in-hand, mooning everyone and laughing as we go. It’ll be awesome.
Tom took a deep breath and started walking towards her. Excitement crawled up his spine, tickling his nerves. A tall man with thick brown hair jumped out from behind a bookshelf. She flinched in surprise. The striking man picked her up in his muscular arms and they started laughing. Their lips met in a passionate, make-out extravaganza. At that moment, a flock of doves took off from outside the window. They soared above the mountains in the shape of a heart. The light bounced off their wings and shone onto the lovers, who glowed in their fiery embrace.
“Shit,” Tom muttered as he turned around and headed back down the stairs. “She wasn’t that hot anyway.”
He walked out past the computers, towards the door, slouched in defeat. Then he saw her. Cupid’s arrow pierced his heart. He admired her beauty as she sat at the computer typing away. She was blonde with blue eyes, just like he’d always dreamed. It was love at first sight.