I Saw You Today 

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After an afternoon at the Kunsthaus, on my walk homewards today, I saw you, Andrea. At Zürich Central I heard your laughter above the rattle of a departing tram. A young body, unfamiliar, yes, but your eyes, your smile; I knew immediately.

You boarded the 7-tram. I took a seat across the aisle that faced two men holding hands. They wore masks. Fasnacht? Ah, no. Halloween.

Last year, some neighbor kids showed at our door. “Süsses oder sours!” They shook plastic shopping sacks and you laughed. “No ghosts and ghouls?” One dressed in scrubs. Another wore a lab coat. The third simply wore black. You threatened to fetch the lemons. “They don’t want lemons,” I said. “They’re threatening to make us sour.” I dropped sweets into their bags.

You held a book on the tram, Stamm on its spine, one of your favorite writers, yes. Yet you gazed out the window to the lake below glistening in clean, autumnal light, and the wall of mountains behind it. I didn’t note at which stop I followed you out.

On a street bordering a park, you let yourself into an unfamiliar apartment building with an unfamiliar set of clinking keys, a crystal-sparkling keychain looking worn, even from my polite distance. At home, didn’t I still listen for your tread echoing up the stairwell, your keys clattering against the front door, the bolt’s click?

I still buy flowers from Silvio’s stand on Fridays.

That first time, he chatted and smiled about the heat until he got to the point when he usually wrapped the flowers, asked after you. The gladioli he held shook. The spool of clear foil rattled, foil folding on the countertop like ribbon candy.

Imagine, Andrea, me stalking someone. How could I not? I retreated to a park bench facing your building. Gangly boys played football nearby, shouts and the thuds of impact. A woman pushed a stroller toward a playground. Her child teetered to the sandbox while she and several women kissed cheeks.

Remember, in our early years, the two of us pointing out babies and toddlers and adolescents: That one with the curls is ours. No, the one with the overbite. I wore braces for three years, ugh.

A boy with my nose caught a pass, kicked the ball onwards. Could he be the son of the you in the unfamiliar body in the unfamiliar apartment? I smiled.

Scents common to the city ebbed and flowed, car exhaust, cigarette smoke, pizza and frites. Micro-sounds of thousands on the move hummed. Church bells peeled.

“Take comfort,” you said, your belief reaching to you on the quiet and so late. I could not.

You stepped onto a balcony. Andrea, above you, in the sky’s deepening blue, planets sparkled—each a missile of God’s love, you said. Ach, your body sinuous, leaning on the rail, hair slipping forward over your shoulder lush and dark, not brittle and broken. You placed a hand on your belly and caressed it.

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Meredith Wadley lives and works in Switzerland.

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