I asked you to marry me and you said no.

That was how we met.

I knew when I first saw you in the crowd of onlookers surrounding the Midway Ave sniper shooting victims that we were meant to be together. Your jacket was bright yellow and the air smelled of blood, fresh rain, and fear. When I listened to reports of the shooting on my police scanner I knew I was in for a treat, but I never imagined I would meet my soul mate.

The police wouldn’t let anyone across the yellow tape, they told us to go home. But you crossed the tape anyway. They didn’t stop you.

I asked you to marry me and you said no.

I wanted to jump over the tape, to join you, to hunch over the victims’ bodies with you and watch you pray for them. Is that what you were doing? Praying? I’m an atheist, but I could love a believer. I could love you. You in your yellow jacket, with your pitch black hair, pale skin, dark eyes. I’ve never seen eyes like yours. I know it’s a cliché to say this, but a man could get lost in those eyes. Those pitch black eyes that go on to infinity.

I heard you speak when you came to the body closest to me. You spoke in a language I didn’t recognize. And I don’t just mean one I don’t understand… I’ve heard a lot of languages in my life. Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Greek, Latin, eastern European languages that I don’t even know the name of… The words you spoke were foreign even to the foreign, like something from a dream.

I asked you to marry me and you said no.

Can I even call you my soul mate when I don’t believe in souls? Even if I did, I don’t know that I’d believe in yours. I don’t know what it is you’re saying in your non-language prayers, I don’t know why you’re saying it, I don’t know why the police and other onlookers pretend you’re not even there. Would the ghosts of the victims welcome you? Would your words bring them comfort, or damnation?

I dreamt about you the night after the last shooting. I’ve lost count. You took me places. Dark places. Places rich with the stench of blood, of rain, and of fear. You showed me sights that I could never fathom in my wildest nightmares—writhing, pulsating, putrid terrors. But the worst thing I witnessed that night was the sadness in your eyes. The longing for that which can not be. But you were wrong. I wasn’t scared. I would live through a million honeymoons in Hell if it meant being with you.

I asked you to marry me and you said no.

I’m not the type to give up. I’ll ask you again the next time I see you, and the next. I don’t have your phone number, but I know how to call you. I smell the rain, and the fear. I squeeze the trigger. And I wait for the woman in yellow.