4 days later, those 15 seconds seem a long time ago.
As I walked from the hotel where my classes had been in the morning to the lunch area in the main building, I was paying attention to people coming the other way, just in case she was one of them. As I boarded the escalator I looked up to see her boarding at the top. She appeared to be rubbing moisturiser into her arms as she looked at nothing in particular, absorbed in some thought.
My reaction was a visceral one. There before me was a sight that I had longed to see for years with no expectation that I ever would. A sight that seemed so familiar. Here she was again, this time from a slightly different perspective from the ones I had seen her in the day before. Each perspective, like a different phase of the moon. I remember that look, I thought to myself. In that moment I knew exactly why I haven't been able to let go.
My stomach churned, on the one hand I was delighted to see her again, on the other I was painfully aware that she probably didn't want to see me. But I couldn't bring myself to pretend I hadn't seen her. Nor could I bring myself to call out a full throated hello. So a quiet "Hi!" escaped my lips as we passed each other. I wasn't looking directly at her, but I got the impression that she was trying to look anywhere but in my direction. My heart sank. How had it come to this?
She disappeared behind me. I don't think I even looked around to catch a last glimpse.
The next day, I decided to avoid the main building altogether and lunched at home instead. I pondered whether I should go to the night's social event. If she was there it would be awkward and distinctly un-enjoyable for me to be so close, yet so far. On the other hand, I figured that since she was quite unlikely to attend, I may as well go and enjoy myself. I was right, she didn't attend and the evening turned out to be good fun, the highlight of which was an amazing magician called Phil Cass.