My god, she was something special. Every time Jason saw a girl who looked even a little like her his heart went gulp. It was a medium dark complexion, straight dark brown hair, or fairly straight anyway, a smile and brown eyes. Brown eyes, it was all about the shape of her brown eyes, that was the little something special that was so important to Jason. That little something that turned his head. Everyone has a little something that makes people beautiful in their eyes.
Jason looked at the reflection in the shop window, she was still there, following him, perhaps fifty metres behind.
It had taken Jason twenty years to understand why he was so enchanted by that certain shape of eyes. For most of his life Jason had thought his earliest memory was him flirting with a girl. He was four, she was four, they were at the coast. He recalled clearly the brilliant weather, the freshly cut lawn, and her, sitting on the grass playing, probably with dolls, but sometimes when he told the story it was with a magnifying glass, then he would pause letting the listener think she was studiously dull before adding setting things on fire. Who didn’t love a pyromaniac, preferably with glasses, though his girl didn’t have glasses. He may have embellished the memory, but nonetheless it really was his first memory: looking out at the girl on the grass thinking about what to play with her. And so what if he embellished his past? We all aggrandise our role in our life. And sure, at four he had no sexuality but the basis of flirting was there, the basis that would one day be part of an evening’s patter. Then one day his mum had been talking about that holiday by the sea, she had talked about him being in hospital, and did he remember being in hospital? It all made sense, he hadn’t been planning his opening gambit in a precursor to a lifelong habit of flirting, his earliest memory was the longing of a sick boy wanting to play in the sunshine.
When he understood he thought the intense desire for anyone whose look reminded him of the girl in the grass would dissipate, but it didn’t. His head was still turned by that look, and suddenly when he saw the eyes he was in love for a moment.
He looked in another shop window, like they do in spy stories. He lingered for a moment and there she was again. Following him.
At the station he had seen her coming through the ticket barrier. As he always when seeing a woman who reminded him of the girl on the grass, he fell instantly in love, and he stared, his mouth hanging a little loosely, if not indeed open. Then when she looked at him he was highly embarrassed, but it was an embarrassment he had felt before and he knew the solution. He simply had to collect his jaw from the floor, gather up his drool as politely as he could and walk away.
Which he did.
At the archway, where he walked from the station to the street he glanced back. She was standing looking at him. Like she was searching for a deep something he reminded her of, a long forgotten memory. As he walked down the road he thought about her. She was about his age, she could even be the girl on the grass all these years later. Then he spotted her following him. Jesus, he thought, it was true, she really is the girl on the grass. Fuck it, he needed to remember her name. Their families knew each other. The Suchars, Swatchers. Sod, he should have paid more attention when his mum was reminiscing about that holiday. The two families had gone together, possibly. He wasn’t sure he actually wanted to meet his weird pseudo-crush. But it looked like he was going to.
No, it was totally unlikely.
Either way, he thought to himself, he should plan a conversation, after all, that is what the story of the girl on the grass was all about. He would be surprised. Nah, he would be suave: you look ravishing, my god, you haven’t changed in all these years. No too creepy.
He got to his front door before he had planned what to say. He fumbled for his key, slipped it into the lock.
“John, it is you isn’t it?”
He turned, looking at his crush with absolute panic etched over every cell.
“I thought it was you at the station, you still have the same lost boy eyes I remembered from when we last saw each other.”
He found it difficult to breath, yet alone speak.
“Oh, sorry, Trish, our families have known each others for years, I hope you don’t mind me looking you up. Your mum gave my mum your address.”
He focussed on turning the key in the lock then managed to speak.
“Would you like to come in?”