In a crowd of thousands, I was helpless, unable to move. Jim, my love and companion for 33 years, was gone. And rarely have I felt more alone.
We went downtown for the soul music festival. Icon Buddy Guy was to perform as the headliner of the evening. The weather clear, the air silky on my skin. Bass thundered, echoing in the canyon of buildings. People stood or sat listening, bobbing their heads with the music. Those moving wound their way slowly, snakelike in the cool of evening.
The intersection was blocked, stage to the north, canvas sling seats filling the space south of it. Some concession tents and the “beer garden” took up much of Iowa Avenue to the east. We got blocked trying to move through, to find our friends. A two-step here, a triple-step there, not in keeping with the music… We dodged others as we moved.
Jim got caught. I side-stepped the blockage and kept moving, him behind me at that point. I stopped a few feet away, when I reached the corner. I stood next to a man so I wasn’t in the way, and looked down or around or … something. When I looked back, Jim was gone. He’d passed me and I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t see him crossing the street, and I couldn’t see him going down the sidewalk. He was just gone.
I waited but kept looking, and started to feel a little panicky. Nothing too bad would happen — I knew where we parked our car and in the worst case I could just go back there and wait for him. But I still couldn’t see him. I thought about how we never take our cell phones when we’re together, because we’re together, so we don’t need them. So I couldn’t call him or text him.
Helpless, I waited a few minutes, just looking for him.
All of a sudden he was with me. He’d thought I was right behind him, and then I disappeared from view. So he stopped to wait for me. He hadn’t followed me at all.
We were only a few feet from each other, but there were so many people we couldn’t see each other.
Losing him, even in such an innocuous way, rattled me. It was a vision of aloneness I’ve no wish to recreate.
We’re home. We’re fine. I lost him, but he found me. And we’re where we belong. Together.