I made peace with being a minor character on the day we went on a walk. She was always a few paces ahead of me, and now I watched her blouse wrinkle in the wind. Lavender perfume mixed in with the aroma of grass and rosemary wafted down to me, and suddenly my mind wasn't swimming in a million different directions. I was there, there, with her, and her Converse, and her rosebud lip balm.
It was some Japanese tea garden, right by the bay. She said that she needed inspiration for a new song she was writing. I asked her how flowers would help, and she rolled her kohl-lined eyes at me like I should figure it out for myself. “You're a poet, aren't you? You should know.” I should have told her that I didn't have to drive for an hour to see my muse. She only lived a block away.
We sat under a gazebo and didn't talk. I guess she was serious about writing her song. I never could tell. Hobbies came to her suddenly, but she lost interest just as quickly. My mile time in PE class was 9 minutes. There was no way I could keep up with her.
I watched her tuck her nose into her yellow spiral notebook, and I wanted to take a picture, but didn't want to be weird. So I sat and I watched, and thought about the fact that the heroines in my short stories and poems always tended to be on the shorter side, with wavy caramel hair and full lips. And I thought about how she was average looking, but at that moment she was ethereal, right at home with the hummingbirds and butterflies and the sound of the waves lapping against the sand.
When the sun is next to you, you don't mind being outshined. I never needed to be the center of attention. And though it would be nice to be the main character, I knew that not everyone had the chance to, just like how some people were on the streets and some were filthy rich. It wasn't in the cards for me, so I pressed flowers in notebooks and read poetry and enjoyed my life basking in the shadows of her long, long shadow.
I went home that day and went to a violin lesson. My teacher told me, think of someone you love when you play this. I placed my third finger on the A string, set my bow, and I saw her face among the chrysanthemums.