I had left you at the gate to buy a newspaper
and on my way back stopped at a bank of monitors
to check the status of our flight to London.
That was when you noticed a middle-aged man
in a brown jacket and the green short-brimmed cap
I’d bought for the trip. It wasn’t until I turned
and walked toward you that you saw him as me.
What a nice-looking man, you told me you’d thought–
maybe European, with that unusual cap …
somebody, you said, you might want to meet.
We both laughed. And it aroused my vanity
that you had been attracted to me afresh,
with no baggage. A kind of affirmation.
But doubt seeped into that crevice of time
when you had looked upon me as a stranger,
and I wondered if you’d pictured him
as someone more intriguing than I could be
after decades of marriage, all my foibles known.
Did you have one of those under-the-radar daydreams
of meeting him, hitting it off, and getting
on a plane together? In those few moments,
did you imagine a whole life with him?
And were you disappointed, or glad, to find
it was only the life you already had?
“The Day You Looked upon Me as a Stranger,” by Jeffrey Harrison from Into Daylight. © Tupelo Press, 2014.