I could see the details in his face under the stage lights as clearly as I could the day I had met him. I stared at him and he stared at me, his fingers limply holding the neck of his guitar and his jaw dropped slack. His band mates sang on, confused at his lack of participation, until one nudged his arm with a concerned look etched on his face. They exchanged a quick glance, and then looking back to me the man smiled and jumped full force back into his performance, newly invigorated with energy. Throughout the night, he smiled at me, stared at me, all while performing with seemingly endless energy. When I left the stadium, I couldn’t keep myself from smiling.
“You see,” my friend said, linking her arm with mine, “I told you I knew this would help.”
I laughed, and suggested we go for a late night coffee before returning to the hotel. She nodded her agreement, and after a moment looked at me strangely.
“You know him?”
I nod–we met by accident last fall, I say. I had no idea he was famous.
The thought makes my stomach flutter. As if what had happened in autumn hadn’t already been embarrassing, to make it worse the man I ran into had had to be famous.
There was a panic behind us, coming from the stadium. I tuned it out, assuming it to be rabid fangirls trying to get a glimpse of their idols. I was unaware that the man who looked so at home under stage lights was running after us, trying to find me. As he pushed his way through adoring fans, begging them to let him through, my friend and I rounded a corner and disappeared from the sight of the stadium. I had no idea what thoughts were going through his head, this angel I would never see again.
“Where is she?” he had asked
His friends had looked at him, confused.
“The girl,” he insisted, “from the front row.”
“Oh–the one you were making googly eyes at?” his friend teases.
“You know, man, tonight was a damn good show. Your energy was way up there–but it was like you were singing for her, not for us.”
The man stopped at the door to reply over his shoulder.
“That’s because I was.”
He was running, running, running, and we were walking, walking, walking, out of his sight and ever so slowly out of his reach. Desperately he tried to reach us as we continued on our way into downtown Toronto. I came to terms with the fact that I would never see that man again.
Until we heard some one call out behind us–wait, wait! Confused, we stopped and turned to see the man running towards us, hair flopping up and down. We stared in disbelief. Why would he track us down, when his hordes of fans were back at the stadium?
He stopped in front of me, panting. All I could do was stare. He smiled at me, a mischievous and playful smile, while he caught his breath.
“We certainly have made a habit of running into one another, haven’t we?” he teased. Still I could only stare, my friend and I dumbfounded by the circumstance in which we found ourselves.
“Well, heartbreak girl, aren’t you gonna tell me your name?”
My friend and I exchanged a glance. Heartbreak girl? The man stood to his full height, towering over us, and ran a hand through his hair. He was still smiling.
“Look,” he said while staring at the sidewalk, “I know you don’t know me. But even from the moment I knocked you over back in Calgary, I knew you were sad and I knew that I was meant to have you in my life. Tonight, your being at my show is proof of that. I don’t want you to be frightened of me, and I understand that you are and that the walls you have up will take a while to tear down.”
He took my hand, cautiously, and glanced at my eyes momentarily. Still confused, I stared at him and didn’t make a sound.
“If you’ll let me, I will take away all the pain you’re suffering from. Just please, give me the chance to do so. What do you say, heartbreak girl?”
Despite myself, I felt my fingers tighten around his. He smiled with a mixture of relief and uncertainty–uncertainty for, I felt, the future, as he realized I had agreed to allow him into my life. I didn’t know him at all, only his face and his music, but how could I have resisted him? He was radiant, so willing to take a chance on a stranger of a broken, run down girl. Light seemed to emanate from his eyes, and again I found myself falling into them as I opened my lips and whispered to him in a voice he had never heard before, giving him chills I could feel reverberate through his hand and into mine. I told him my name, that was all–okay, he said and then laughed, Ray, like a ray of sunshine–and I swore as he smiled I could see his wings behind him. We invited him to join us for coffee, to which he agreed. He fit in with us effortlessly–he skipped along the sidewalk with us like a five year old child, he teased my friend about a band mate of his that thought she was cute, all while holding my hand.
And so I found myself walking into a future with an angel sent to me from heaven, and the voices in my head were quiet and the lover I used to know was sleeping with a girl I had never met. And I was okay.