I think about you every day, if only for one swift and fleeting moment. Sometimes I glance in the direction of the apartment we used to share when I pass the building on my way to work. I wonder if you still live there. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a light in the window. Nearly three years later and I still don’t know where to unpack all the memories from that place…I don’t know where they belong in my new life, if anywhere.
I think about you when I see a couple in a restaurant sitting on the same side of a booth. I smile and silently poke fun at them. Small moments. Like that. They pass without acknowledgment. I notice and then turn my attention back to whatever’s in front of me. I wonder if that happens to you, too.
Sometimes I fantasize about the words I long to say to you…words I’ll probably never say…words I’ve been mentally drafting and revising for a very long time now. I could write a book.
Against all will and desire, my brain compares and contrasts. You and him. Once and now. It’s futile, I know – like comparing apples and oranges if apples and oranges were as unrelated as spaceships and seagrass. My hand fits differently in his than it did in yours – not better or worse, just different.
Mostly, I compare who I am now to who I was then. Part of my heart will always weep for the choices I made…for the myriad ways I failed to love you well. ‘When you know better, you do better’ – that’s what they say. I now know better, so I do better, but it doesn’t do you any good. And so the ugly parts of the story remain as true today as they were back then. Remorse gathers dust on a shelf.
I think about you and me. Now. As we are…as opposed to who we were. I wonder if you’ve grown and blossomed and wholly transformed, as I have. I wonder if you, too, have stepped into your bones, discovered who you are, found happiness there. I hope so. I imagine so.
It occurs to me I can no longer remember the sound of your laugh or the shape of your feet. Like the shine of a penny, those things wear away over time until they are dull and lost. It’s as if we’ve never met.
There are places I never again visited; I doubt I ever will. Restaurants and ‘secret spots’ and pieces of shoreline…entire cities, even. Sometimes I like to imagine the ghost of us occupying those places – wandering around, holding hands, laughing with one another across a table. So much time has passed, but the thought of returning still feels wrong…like the desecration of something beautiful, a promise broken.
I hold you and carry you now, in a way that is light and congenial – without struggle or pain. Ours is a story that continues to teach me and guide me.
In that moment or two when I think about you and remember something small or big or in-between, I turn toward it and let it wash over me. I let it come.