There was once a couple, that by look, word, and action, one could tell they were in love. In fact, they were completely devoted to each other, willing to lavish affection on one another until the stars fell from the sky. There was tragedy to this, wrapped in the cliche of how they could never be together. It was a matter of station. She was a princess, and he was a mere peasant.
Despite station, they found ways to be together. To share one another's company. She had no inhibition of telling him her feelings. Of wishing for a life together with him. He would sometimes behave cruelly toward her and try to push her away. It was a coping mechanism. The pain of looking at her, of a shared moment without being able to have more, was too painful.
He swore he would never kiss her, fearing it might complicate things. Intensify the sweet pain he felt in her presence. That oath was dashed one night under a full moon during a festival. Her lips were the sweetest thing he ever tasted. Both of them wanted more. Her husband, a prince, though he never knew of their secret amore, forbid her from associating with him. Someone so beneath her station.
This made their bond, their love, stronger. The forbidden fruit. She took every opportunity to see him. A gamble she felt was worth the risk of losing her station, her husband, and her fortune. Those had all come to mean nothing to her. Only one thing mattered anymore, and it was him. He was her most precious treasure.
He swore never to sleep with her, fearing it would make things worse. The thought of her loosing everything because of him was something he could not bear. This oath was dashed during a storm, when they hid in the ruins of an abandoned monastery for shelter. It was then he confessed that he loved her too, but he never told her he wished things were different, so they could be together. That was the one oath he kept.
Years later, he sat at a bus stop in a foreign land, telling me his story. An older man, he spoke in mournful tones about his princess. His treasure. The true love of his life. He left his homeland the day she ascended the throne to become queen, her imperial robes the color of the clouds during twilight.
As she stood there with her husband, now the king, his imperial robes the color of the deepest blue of evening, she wept. Certainly, there are those who would say it was for joy, but the truth was she not standing with the man she wanted to stand with. Her kingdom meant nothing to her. Her most precious treasure was leaving.
He spoke to me of the great monsoons, trinkets made of jade, and the scent of lotus blossoms. Those stolen glances in secret places. Though he was far older, and his tale could have taken place in the days of the First Emperor, when he spoke, I saw a man my age, if not younger.
Eventually, he fathered children, but he never said whether or not he got married. One of them was a daughter. He named her after his princess, his treasure, though he never told the mother why. The pet name for his girl child was treasure. I curse myself that I cannot remember how he said it in his native tongue. He thanked me for listening to an old man's tale.
After that, whilst I stilled lived in that historical district, down in the greater metroplex, I would still see him on the bus or walking down the street. I'd incline my head or say hello. Sometimes, I'd see that wistful look in his eyes when he thought about her, but I'd say nothing about it. There were no words. I felt for him, though, despite the fact I am not in possession of even the slightest ting of romance. His feet may have been there in the city, but his heart was still a million miles away.