I saw him walking down the sidewalk, headed back in the direction of his apartment. I pulled my head back, pressed myself flat against the wall, and concentrated on keeping my breath slow and even. What did a racing heart mean to me now? I had subjected myself to many moments like this just to reach this point in time.
He was very close, I could hear his footfalls. In a few seconds he would be passing the alley. Then I would step out and...
Then everything would be changed. I would be remade into a phantom.
I could see his expression as he crossed in front of the alley. All I had to do was act. I had pictured many times how his expression would be changed when I made my presence known. But even as my body began to move, my mind held back for a thousandth of a second, a hesitation before casting itself into oblivion.
“Hello.” Hearing a voice no doubt startled him. But this was ordinary. When he turned, and saw who was speaking, then he was startled. Then he was struck, turned to stone with a metaphysical awe at a sight that stripped away all conventions of self.
And I felt it too.