Here I was, gazing into the most incredible, piercing, luminous ice blue eyes I’d ever seen, whilst the whole time my treacherous subconscious was trying to reconcile words like “wholesome”, “homely” and “maternal” (terms that, had I thought about it, I would have probably used to describe Her up to this point in our friendship) with a woman who I could clearly, suddenly see, with something akin to a revelation, should be described as “pretty”, “striking”, “stunning”, or just plain “beautiful”.
You know those optical illusions that you stare at for ages, trying to see the two faces, or the vase between the two candlesticks, until it miraculously resolves itself, leaving you unable to ever again see it the way it was before? Well, it was like that. One minute I was looking at a photo of someone I’d seen dozens of pictures of on Facebook over the last couple of years or so, when all of a sudden it was as though I could see a totally different person, someone who seemed to be lit from within by a light which bordered on intense.
I actually found myself scrolling back through Her photo albums, searching for a sign that I was mistaken, that this was some sort of aberration, a trick of the light, something that would explain this extraordinary vision. But no, as I studied the pictures on the small screen before me, it may as well have been the very first time.
“Now I know for sure that I’ve seen this picture before, but….She’s gorgeous, how did I not see that..?”
Picture after picture, the same amazed, almost visceral reaction. Disbelief, mixed with a slightly nervous feeling of “something is happening here”.
Me – You have the most extraordinary eyes.
Her – Thank you, I’m glad you think so. I always wanted brown eyes, blue is so ordinary.
Me – Brown? Are you mad?! Your eyes are absolutely beautiful, I’ve never seen anything like them.
Her – I’ve always thought you have beautiful eyes.
There it was.
A definite trip in my heartbeat.
A certain sudden dryness to the mouth.
I realised I should probably start breathing again.
A sensation of…what? Excitement? Anticipation? Dare I say Attraction?
We continued to chat. I continued to experience this…thrill, that is the only word for it, that shivered through me each time that little message icon appeared, and then She said something that I’m sure I will never, ever forget;
“I’ve been crushing on you for a while.”
That can’t be right, she didn’t just say she fancied me, not just the very second I’ve realised how gorgeous she is?
Me – Really? I don’t know what to say, I’m flattered.
Her – I wouldn’t have said anything before, because you were with somebody else.
Me – I don’t suppose (gulp) that you fancy having an online boyfriend do you? (then, hurriedly) You know, just for fun….
Her – That would be wonderful! And what would having an online boyfriend entail exactly..?
As simple as that.
The rest of the afternoon we spent chatting on messenger. I felt like a teenager again, like I was walking on air, having to repress an idiot grin that kept threatening to make the top of my head fall off and cause me to burst into spontaneous, delighted laughter, all at the same time. Then I had a flash of inspiration.
After all, we’d chatted on Skype already hadn’t we, back when we were just friends?
Quickly working out the time difference between us, I suggested we have an actual, real verbal conversation after I finished work for the day. She agreed straight away and suddenly, I had a date.
Five o’clock couldn’t come quickly enough after that. In fact I didn’t even bother to drive home, instead parking in a quiet lay-by on a side road and, with trembling fingers, (I kid you not, I felt like a fifteen year old schoolboy, about to knock on the door of a prom queen) I opened the Skype application on my phone, breathed deeply and tried to compose myself.
The metallic, tinny sound of the ringtone chimed half a dozen times and then;
I drew in another none-too-steady deep breath and took the first real step into an uncertain but deliciously exciting future;
“Hi there, it’s really good to finally hear your voice again…”