A poem for the girl who got away
It’s been eight months now since my 22-year-old son Stephen died. The other day I came across a scrap of something he wrote.
First, some background: During one of my “girls-and-relationships” conversations with Stephen, he told me about a beautiful young woman he met at a subway stop on the D.C. Metro. She’d been listening to her iPod and they got to talking about music. Stephen told me they had major clickage. At the time, he was a cook at Black’s restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland; she was working in an office building nearby.
As Stephen and I talked, he was lamenting that all he wanted was to have someone in his life he could love. He said he thought Metro Girl might be that person, but he didn’t know how to connect with her.
“Why not?” I asked. “Didn’t you get her digits? Her email?”
“Naw,” he replied, shaking his head sadly.
“Dude! You should have gotten her email.”
“Dad! I’m sorry. I thought I’d see her again, okay?” He was clearly annoyed with himself — and with me for pointing out his egregious strategic error. But he agreed with me and resolved that if he ever saw her again, he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
Six months after he died, I found something he’d scrawled on a scrap of paper, undated, with only a few cross-outs. I think it might have been a rough draft of his updated strategy in case he ever met the girl of his dreams again. It’s uniquely Stephen. I figure his plan was to carry it around and give it to her the next time they met — if ever. It’s a little fumbly-awkward, but charming, nonetheless. He wrote it as prose, but it feels poetic, so I’ve kept his words, but poeticized the format.
Here it is:
Before we had even exchanged words, you stood out,
Your beauty radiating with the essence of an angel
Whose light was a beacon to what was good.
In a cold wasteland of drifting souls,
You were a warm shot of whiskey.
It was a one in a million chance of us meeting,
And you are a woman who comes every million years,
Your warm eyes can tell no lies.
So many connections are lost in passing,
So why should this be one of them?
Perhaps we could meet again,
But I’ll make it a little easier this time….
[Here he inserted his phone number]
As far as I know, he never saw her again. So, Metro Girl, this is for you — wherever, and who ever, you are.