We met face-to-face for the first time that day. It was at a festival at something more of an expanse than a field, people too numerous to even begin to attempt to quantify; surely there were others I had known weaving through the crowds. They would all have been visible under the radiant sun. It was only from a past life I knew him, and he thought me to be long-gone, which was true – at least to him. I hadn’t seem him since either but I’d known him well while we still talked. He’d never known what I looked like, nor anything that could have identified me instantly.
There was so much to talk about, but I couldn’t just reveal myself like that. To do so would have felt wrong. To him, I was just another friendly event-goer stopping for a chat and a few snacks. I could see the rolling expanse for miles ahead from this grassy hill, sentinel line of trees pushing against the edge – this was one of the highest points in view. But from here, I could identify nobody. Only blurry shapes distorted by the heat.
The more we talked, the more painful it became to me. I was right there. Under every one of my sentences was a desperate subconscious wish to be identified. I knew him, and he should have known me. The shirt I was wearing alone would have been enough to make me recognisable had he looked. No matter how much I tried, I was still a stranger and the first, last and only chance of talking about things once left unfinished were fading fast. Perhaps I should have told him what I was. But out of personal pride I remained unknown for fear of startling him or worse, Ultimately, he never recognised me and faded into the masses of people, leaving as he’d been, a remnant of the past, and leaving me another face without a face in the festival’s crowd. I never said it but I’d been wanting to all along.
“Please remember me.”