His name is Thomas and it is always Thomas unless it isn’t and unless it is something else entirely something that has always been a backandforth about clarity and light, with starry eyes. He knows this, as fiercely as he knows up is up and down is down, and even moreso, because he also knows those things can change, that all things can change, in a blink of those same eyes.
“I have to tell you something,” he says, standing on the bench at the bus stop, where cars drive by at full speed, the light at the end of the block only making people speed up to try to jockey past it. “I have to tell you right now,” he says, shouting, even though no one is paying attention. “Are you listening?”
He rubs his face and sighs, shaking his head, looking down at his hands, empty one moment, full of bottlecaps the next.
“She wanted me to tell you,” he says, and then clears his throat. “She wanted me to tell you that it was the best time of her life. It was the best time, those moments. That she didn’t know how much she could love, until those moments, when everything fit together so perfectly.”
There are tears on his cheeks, and he wipes them away without pause. “There isn’t anything you can do, because you only go the one way, unless you’re tearing through it all,” he says softly. Soon, people will come to try to take him back home, like they always do. He climbs down off the bench, lowering his voice, and checking his watch. People are walking by, taking no notice of him, people who cross paths with one another, every day, all the time, and never give one another a second glance. Never giving someone like him a second glance.
Thomas bumps into a man with a rumpled suitjacket and thin black tie, and backs away, stepping off the curb, his back to the street, counting down, his lips moving silently. He lifts his starry eyes to meet a different pair, so blue, too blue, and the joy and heartbreak are clear on his face.
“She wanted me to tell you she loves you,” he says, his voice cracking, his hands reached out, as though in offering. “She still loves you. Always.”
The bus is right on time.