A remarkable thing happened tonight. At dinner with a friend, a girl sat across from me who looked amazingly like Maggie. Her face and her hair rang true to the image of Maggie during the early days of our relationship. The resemblance was breath-taking. I fear I made her uncomfortable with my overt gaping but despite my restraint I just nearly couldn’t help my reaction. The resemblance was uncanny.
People often told Maggie that she had a familiar face or that she looked like so-and-so. Heck, I’ve even had people tell me, delicately, that they saw someone who looked like or reminded them of Maggie. However, frequently, when we/she saw the supposed doppelganger, neither Maggie nor I saw the similarities. Well, tonight was definitely different. I was startled at the resemblance.
Now, you’d think that seeing a girl who was so strikingly similar to Maggie that it would shock me was the remarkable thing I mentioned. It wasn’t. The remarkable thing is that no matter how much she reminded me of my sweetheart physically, it just confused my eyes, not my heart. My heart didn’t leap like you (or I) would expect. She definitely dazzled my eyes but she didn’t move like Maggie or smile like Maggie or talk like Maggie. It was confusing, actually, like a mirage. But it made me smile. The girl tonight was very pretty but Maggie was much prettier to me in so many ways. Watching her, I smiled because while my memory of exactly how my angel moved, smiled or talked is fading, I remember how she touched me and how wonderful it was to know her. That feeling I’ll never forget even if I can’t remember the specifics playing out like a movie in my head. I’m a lucky guy to even know that feeling.
But tonight’s brief encounter with Not Maggie twisted my feelers into quite a tangle, too. How much I have forgotten about her breaks my heart. Sitting in front of the TV tonight, a funny moment tickled me to laughter, causing me to rewind and quote the dialog out loud. Maggie and I used to laugh, rewind, quote and laugh again often. But I can’t remember how she laughed. I don’t remember what it sounded like. I don’t remember exactly what it looked like either. I have difficulty remembering how she’d sit there in her place beside me on the couch as we watched TV, a place she owned for years. I’m embarrassed to say so but it’s true. And it hurts, like I’ve lost her all over again. She’s fading from my life. And I feel terrible about it.