• A.D. Stephenson

I Saw You Last Night

I saw you last night

I thought I was over you. You dominated my teens and, if I’m honest, a large part of my

twenties too. Just the shine of your smile, or hearing your voice… wow. It is almost impossible

to put into words what you meant to me. You were the first person who made the young me

feel something, other than Jessica Rabbit and Cheetara, of course. What young man could resist

them? But you were different: you spoke to my soul.

And then you were gone. No note, nothing said. No messages on the message boards, nothing

written anywhere. People spoke about you and when I heard your name I tried not to look too

interested, too eager, too besotted. But I was. I was hungry for your face and your voice. But I

was cast aside. I didn’t get a chance to stare at you from afar or clasp hands with my friends

when they saw you for the first time. All was nothing, just a gap where you were. You were my

pair of broken headphones, my book of scribbled lines.

And then I saw you last night.

I knew you were coming. I’d moved on, or thought I had. I’m married now and I’m deliriously

happy. But I still think of the times we had together and I sit and cry. When my wife asks me

what’s wrong, I can’t answer her honestly, can I? She would think I was crazy.

I didn’t know what I was doing in that moment. You were a part of her life, too. She remembered

you. Maybe she loved you too. But it wasn’t the same as what we had. I knew that. But I stood

among everyone, waiting for a glimpse of you. For a nano second of your smile. To feel that I

was near you once again.

And then it happened. You looked like a goddess. Like an ephemeral being. And you were, I

suppose. In my mind, you were gossamer: a whisper of a beautiful note in a memory that

skipped like a damaged record. But there you were, last night, real and physical and powerful.

You were all that I remembered and more and the smile that captivated me as a boy had not

been dimmed by time – it was more beautiful than I could have remembered.

And the voice. The voice that brought me to tears, both happy and sad; the voice broke me and

it was like being a boy again, one that felt every word was written for him. I sang along with

you; I knew every word, of course. I sang loudly and long and tears ran freely. My wife looked at

me with puzzlement: she had no idea I felt this way. And I love her with all of my heart, I do,

she is perfect. We have a wonderful life together. But when I saw you last night. When I realised my love would last forever.

* * *

This is a bit different to my previous efforts, and is borne of a real experience. This is, in many ways, an ode to Alicia Keys. As a teenager I was in love with her and her music. And then, during the week, I saw her live in concert. And it was as wonderful as I had always imagined. What a voice. During the concert, I knew that she would be the basis of my next story. It took a while for me to get the tone right and I had to write it on a train, but I think it's come out just fine.

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