I didn’t see him there. 

It isn’t that I had a problem looking at him, I just couldn’t do it. 

I was afraid.

I knew what I would see in those eyes, and it terrified me.  That sadness, that longing.  The sudden crushing sensation of regret and loss.  I know these things, I thought I had felt them myself.  But at that moment, it dawned on me that those weren’t quite as real as I had imagined them to be.  I understood that any sense of loss or pain that I may have felt in the past was primarily due to wounded pride, and not any true feeling of heartbreak. 

That changed in a heartbeat.  “He’s right behind you”.  I knew who ‘he’ was instantly.  I froze, and for a few brief moments I was him, looking at me, with her.  A chasm opened up, it was unlike any other time in my life where I may have felt or imagined the same sensation. 

When the track was announced, I took her hand and all but speedwalked to the platform. 

Unbidden, I thought over and over, “please don’t ever let me be you.”

I never looked back.