She's reduced to feeling 17 again. The nervous energy, anticipating the smallest things, measuring each glance, each word, each motion.
Oceans of life between them, yet the currents and tides have brought them around to the same shores. She sits in the audience with not more than 20 feet between them. The air charged.
The audience watches his moves, listens to the catch in his voice, feels his emotion. Only she catches the glance. His eyebrow cocks; the corners of his mouth turn up slightly as he closes his eyes and leads into the chorus. Words that were clearly planned ages ago sound like he wrote them just for her. But she's sure someone else has had that same thought.
His eyes catch hers again, and he smiles; she is certain this time. She feels heat in the cool of the air on the patio; feels her throat constrict for a moment and her lungs fail briefly. The pulse in her neck, echoed by an extra beat of her heart bound tightly under her ribcage, brings her back into reality, and she takes a breath. His face seems flushed too, but stage lights play tricks on the mind.
Later, he stops by. Greets her friends. Teases her. She promises to see the next show. He promises not to hold her to it. Hugs her before he's pulled back into the crowd. She holds her breath. Swallows hard when he's out of sight. Needs to leave. Feels like a lightning rod in a storm. Needs to discharge.
She turns and walks out. Won't look back, though she wants to.
Passes under a streetlight on her way to her car, parked down the street. It burns out with a flash, and darkness fills the small void above her head, temporarily, until she walks into the dim yellow puddled around the next streetlight.
Feeling strangely relieved.
Ready for the next storm.