I wanted to tell you that I walked passed you the other day. I was on Main Street. So were you. Obviously. You were walking up around the corner near South Temple where the new theatre is. It's called Eccles Theatre, and The Lion King just finished its two weeks here. I saw you just as I came around the corner. You were standing still and looked through the tall (and I mean tall) glass windows. Inside the theatre there’s that gigantic screen that plays some type of video showing Utah’s great wonders. You know, the arches, red rocks, ski slopes, the Great Salt Lake. Your eyes were full of Utah for a few seconds, and your red hair fluffed up with the wind whenever a car drove by…which was quite often. You seemed full of wonder. I didn't want to startle you, so I walked on by. I knew there would be another chance another time.
I also wanted to tell you that I saw you another day. You had your hoodie on and looked cold. It was wet and chilly outside, so everyone was walking a little faster that day. I walked brisk passed you. Just before we passed, you looked up. I saw your blue eyes. I couldn’t tell, but it seemed like you had been crying. Your face was pink and your eyes swollen. I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. Once I had been crying while walking home. (It was terribly embarrassing.) A man had turned and told me that tomorrow would be better. I wished I had said something short and kind and hopeful like that to you, but I said nothing. The moment was too fast. And now you don’t know that I trusted tomorrow would be better for you. And though it’s none of my business, I didn’t know why you were sad or why today was not your day. Is it strange that I wish I knew? Is it strange that I care to know? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, because you don’t know that I wonder or care to know these things.
You kissed a girl. I was just stepping out of the bar, I had treated myself to a fancy drink. I thought a fancy drink would make me a fancy girl. When I realized I was wrong, I left. The woman I saw you kiss...She was fancy. Golden curls, long legs, porcelain collar bones, and red lips that never got on her teeth. When she laughed, I thought I was listening to woman laugh from the 20s. She was grand and elegant and womanly, and I knew this even under the dim of the street lights. She was leaning back against the wall of the small bar that served chips, dip, and olives with their cocktails. (Though I only got the drink.) Your hand was flat against the wall, and your lips were flat against her plump red mouth. At first I wasn't sure, but then I knew it was you because of the fire red hair on your head. Why is it one second one can feel normal, and the next they can feel insufficient, see-through, and small?
Once you were sitting down near the window-front drinking coffee. Your cheeks were rosy and your eyes sleepy and never quite completely open. You drank your coffee slowly, staring into its black surface as if your fortune was playing itself out in the little cup. And when you drank from the cup, you closed your eyes as if you were consuming your future. You didn’t seem to notice anyone or anything. All the objects in the room could have started melting and all human heads turn inside out and you wouldn’t have noticed, I’m sure. But I noticed you. I wanted to tell you that, but I didn’t want to bother you. Sometimes not noticing things is pleasant. It rarely happens that I don’t notice anything. Especially when you’re around. But sometimes it does, but those moments are always interrupted by some chattering idiot. I don’t want to be a chattering idiot.
I saw you out back behind all of the buildings. You smashed your violin against the bricks. You screamed and you pulled at your hair and you damned the world and everything in it. I know you didn’t mean me included, but at first I was a little hurt. Mostly I was just scared though. I saw the wooden splinters fly from the instrument as it bounced off the wall of the building. I was out to take out the trash. That’s why I was there. It was a small chance that I would have ever saw you be so angry, but the chance happened. And I was scared, yes. But I noticed you. I saw you, all the same. It wasn’t until your anger exhausted you and you fell to your knees that you turned and noticed me standing there by the garbage containers holding a leaky white plastic bag. I wanted to walk over to you. Hug you. Hold you. Pull back and place your face between my hands and tell you, though I didn’t know what was wrong or what wrong thing had happened, that everything would be alright. But the garbage bag had leaked and my hands were dirty and smelled of sour milk and stale pastries. I didn’t want your first touch by me to be of damp, dumpster hands. So I just turned and left. I know I should have at least thrown the garbage bag into the dumpster, but I was too scared and…the way you looked at me, shocked and interrupted, I felt I should just leave. I know you understand. I'm not one to leave a garbage bag beside a dumpster instead of inside of it.
It’s been 26 days. I haven’t seen you since I saw you when you were angry behind the shops by the dumpster. You haven’t walked near the theatre where the broadway shows play and the big screen shows tourists what Utah looks like…from a drone. You haven’t walked the streets downtown, happy or sad. You haven't kissed any fancy women outside of bars. You haven’t been around to be too absorbed by a dark cup of Joe. The violin pieces are long gone as is the garbage bag I left next to, but not inside, the dumpster. (Again, I would never usually do that.) I never knew you played the violin. Is it strange to say that I miss the thought of you playing the violin?…As if my ears are sore for a sound they’ve never heard?
Charlie, I noticed you. And I notice you when you’re not here. Come back to me.
A girl with dumpster hands
P.S. I really would usually put the garbage bag in the garbage can. I just was a little startled and hadn't seen you in that way until the day you threw your violin.