A young man starts, spinning on his heel, and finds himself nearly nose-to-nose with a young pale woman. A very pretty young woman.
He blinks and steps back, gaze sliding down and back up this stranger. She’s very tall, towers over him a good inch or two (and he’s nearly six-foot!), slender too, with an hourglass figure molded from porcelain. Soft-looking golden hair frames a perfect face with eyes the color of the clearest blue midday sky.
“W-What?” He gasps, clutching his phone with white knuckles, his heart beginning to pound as the woman’s eyes narrow. In the next breath, she twists around him, dancing and weaving around his evasive movements as she takes him in.
For a moment, he sees her eyes alight from within, a dazzling sparkle that steals his breath and makes him still. He head spins, wanting to savor that look, to keep what those eyes have given him a taste off; blinding desire and the offer of eternal peace.
She looks at him like he’s her soul mate, her salvation from…. something unspeakable.
But then she comes back around and frowns, that starlight spark winking out.
“No.” She sighs, shoulders drooping. “You’re not my Adam.” Before the man can utter a word, the woman pivots, throwing a parting apology over her shoulder before briskly walking away.
“Who’s this ‘Adam’?” He calls, frantic, arm reaching out towards her as she halts. “Maybe — maybe I can help you find him?” The man licks his lips, throat suddenly dry and tight, a ball of cotton poofing into existence at the back of his throat. He doesn’t know what just happened, but he can’t let her leave yet, doesn’t want her to ever leave.
He blinks, a shudder arcing up his spine like a frigid bolt of lightning. Where had that come from? As if he had said the words aloud he opens his mouth to apologize, to beg this goddess for forgiveness for his own thoughts.
But then she smiles, softly, perfect pink lips curling like flower petals and he can breathe again.
“I know.” She says, and his heart stutters under the certainty in her voice. Had he spoken those thoughts aloud? His ears burn as he clears his throat, cheeks following as she laughs. “Sorry.” She chuckles, shaking her head. “You haven’t said anything wrong it’s just–” she stops, bitterness and disappointment dampening her smile. “I know that look. I always get that look.” She drops her gaze, eyes glazing over, seeing something far out of reach.
The man swallows, licking his lips again. Wanting more than anything to reach out and hold this broken woman.
“My Adam was the only one who didn’t.” She chuckles again, bitterly, her own cloud of sorrow drawing tears to his eyes.
“Do — do you wanna talk about it?” The man grimaces, cheeks burning as he shoves his twitching hands deep into his pockets, darting eyes refusing to meet hers.
“You wouldn’t understand.” She says with such conviction he almost turns around and runs off, throwing his head up he sees something unkind and sickeningly wrong flashing in those crystal orbs.
“Try me.” He breaths, dropping his gaze, instead staring at the scuffed tips of her blue sneakers. Again, she startles him, leans into his personal space, once again nearly nose-to-nose, grinning like a hound that caught the fox.
“No.” Whispers the woman, before spinning and racing across the street.
“Wait!” The man calls, lurching forward, feet following without command, reaching out, fingers nearly brushing the edge strands of her golden hair, before he’s thrust back with the tide of the crowd. He stumbles, and after a moment frees himself, on the opposite side of the street where she stands.
Like the white rabbit she weaves through the throng of people, darting past cars and hopping over the chairs and tables sitting outside the passing cafe’s and shops. The man, desire and something unexplainable and wonderous stirring in his gut, gives chase.
And he continues the chase, for fifty years.
He watches, his hair streaking grey, wrinkles carving into his soft flesh, taking jobs wherever he can, travelling, searching everywhere. And when he catches a glimpse of golden hair, he lurches to weary feet and pulls at reserves once used to fight beasts and hold off starvation, and he runs, always chasing after her. This woman he’d spoken to for less than a minute.
After five more years, he finally sees her again, and he thinks; Yes, I’ve finally caught this golden heavenly bird. It’s not until he sees her face; untouched by time, flawless, young, with eyes centuries older than the years that had past, that he realizes she’s just let him catch up.
He realizes he should have run away all those years ago.
“Hello, again.” She says, slender fingers curled around a cup of steaming tea. The man, shaking and old, gapes like a fish. “Sit with me.” She smiles, soft and motherly, eyes glimmering with that same sense of profound loss. The man crumbles into the chair across, and a waitress comes by, setting down another cup of tea; his favorite.
He stares into the steaming porcelain, jumping when she laughs, mimicking the sweet sound of tinkling bells and the gentle roll of waves.
“… What are you?” He asks, hands trembling as they settle around the warmth of the cup. Here and now, he remembers that coldness of her second to last gaze from so long ago.
“Now, that is the question, isn’t it?” Her grin falters, as her gaze falls on his tense trembling hands. The man flinches, and her eyes turn sad. “I’m not going to hurt you.” She breathes, unnaturally loud in the bustle of the street. “I’m sorry you’ve wasted all these years chasing me, regardless of what you might think, I do know how time wears on the soul.”
He scoffs, a sound that sounds more akin to a hiss as it pushes past his clenched teeth. He doesn’t believe her, this goddess he’d deluded himself into loving, how could he? All he feels now is anger, that impossible desire that had kept him going for so long turning bitter in his gut. He wants answers.
The woman sighs and finishes her drink, the clink of porcelain as loud as a thunderclap in his ears.
“Because of that, you’re entitled to a question.” She links her fingers and waits. The man doesn’t think long, but it takes time for his heavy tongue to form the words. He’s only ever really had one question worth asking.
“Who is this Adam you’re searching for?” She smiles again, and it is a bittersweet one. Then, she tells him a story.
A story of mad men of science, of worlds unseen long past the stars the greatest minds of his planet knows, into the dark, and back into the light; that terrible white, sterile and unnatural, that she and he had lived in. She tells him of a man named Adam, and how she had been made for him, this great god of a man. Of how he rejected what his creators had tried to force upon him, of the hell he wrought, of the blood on her own hands. She spoke of powers she dare not share, of only knowing of now, of the agelessness of her own body.
Of the long decades she’s spent looking for him, hoping and praying to see the man she loved just once more. Of her devotion, and the love she would gift to his broken heart. How nothing else has really mattered to her.
She tells him it’s the truth, but his well-padded human brain cannot comprehend the wretched truth she tells him, so immediately he tells himself it’s just a story, told by a lonely girl looking for an imaginary man she’d made to combat that loneliness. Because if her fantastical tale was reality…
And yet, here she stands, knowing details to impossible things, ageless and unnaturally perfect before him. He knows she is not lying, and somehow that is the worst thing she’d done, because he cannot go back to before, and from the look in her eyes, she knows this too.
“So,” The man begins, licking his lips, attempting to swallow the cotton in his throat. “Have you found him yet, your Adam?”
“No.” She says, grinning brightly. “Not yet.”
“Then why are you so happy?” He barks, knuckles almost as white as his teacup.
“Because life is worth living.” She grins, tucking a few stray hairs behind her ear. “And while I may never stop searching, I won’t stop living. Enjoying the simple things,” She gestures to her cup. “Like a good drink, or the feel of well worn jackets. I travel, I explore, and one day, when I find him, I will have stories to tell. I will have had a life well lived.”
Then, she stands, collecting a worn satchel from the ground, its fabric glittering with pins and bottle caps and key chains.
“I wish you luck.” She breathes with a sweet motherly smile. “Go live your life for yourself for once.” Then, she leans forward, and presses a kiss to his weathered cheek, gentle as a butterflies wing. “Do not follow me again.” Rising she turns and steps into the crowd, vanishing from sight.
The man, weary and shaken, drinks from his cooled tea, and his shoulders fall. Thinking back to all the things he’d missed chasing that woman. Of the love he’d never let himself have, of the years he had left.
He sighs, and stops his chase, wondering what he was going to do next.