A free write.
I think of it often. Why we fell apart.
Today was not a day for kisses in the rain or strolls through the fields. No parcels of chocolate or affectionate notes on scrap paper and wrapping paper and receipts for french fries. My fingers would not push through dark tresses or whorls of lilacs, nor grip stone sloping down the mountain side. My legs wouldn’t pedal hard down the street or pump through the water in the lagoon.
The air in the house was dry, stale, bare of breakfast smells and happier tidings warm like coffee on Christmas morning.
I didn’t bother opening the plantation shutters, peeling back the curtains. No one stayed behind under the covers.
My favorite little things.
As much as I’d like, as much as I’d want, you’d say. You would give me everything.
Another time. Another era of Saturdays. And it’s the middle of the week, middle of the afternoon. And you’re long gone now. No shoes in the laundry room. No toothbrush in the little silver cup by the sink, nor the sharp, tangy citrus shampoo you kept on the side of the tub.
I think often of all that I shared with you, and I wrap my arms around my sides, anticipating my heart to swell. But in your memory, I shrink. In your company, I withered. It’s all the same.
These little memories gave you joy. And I know they gave me joy too. And I’ll always be thankful for that, that which we shared. The bike rides and trips to the shore, the milkshakes and burgers and beers in dive bars. Head bobs and dance music in cars, and picnics on porches. Kisses in the woods behind your mother’s house.
I think of it often. Why we fell apart. Why we shared so much and it still felt like something was missing.
Raspberry wine. Hushed discussions in museums – tracing streaks of paint like words in a story. (Don’t you see it? His personality? In the strokes? There, right there? That smudge says so much. So little says so much.) Gabbing about wizards and dreams of faerie circles. Bowls of risotto in the village and night stops at the bodega for popcorn and caramels. The thrum of the city kept you awake and restless and stirring and frantic. (It moved me. It helped me grow. Why won’t you consider coming with me.) There were so many places to go, and this thrilled me. It was everything, this possibility.
What happened that night with Ben. What happened last Tuesday with Breanna.
But it all added up. It happens.
I suppose my answers come in the form of questions, then in ephemera that I slowly have peeled from the refrigerator, the shelves, from boxes of memories. I tuck them away. I tuck, bit by bit and piece by piece, those parts of me that died. To lose you as a lover was not to lose a limb. Simply a growing pain. A layer of skin scrubbed off hard in the shower. That last bit of soap. Citrus. Sharp and tangy.
It wasn’t painful, leaving you behind. Not much has changed. Just the things you shared, nudged simply to another body. Re-allocated. Same red hair. Same bubbly smile. No different. It’s easier this way. She might fit as I did in the hollow beside your chest. “Perfectly.”
There are new little things, lining my day like colored flannel stitched to the underside of a favorite coat. Things I know I will never share with you, things you’ll never know to accompany the pieces you never knew.
I think of it too often. Why we fell apart.
Today was not a day for kisses on rooftop gardens. But I took a walk along the channel, below and into the blue stone tunnel, and observed through the windows rowers churn through turquoise water, slicing through the stillness and under the belly of the copper and ivory bridge. I took a cup of coffee in a mug bedecked in Shakespearean scribbles. My desk is covered in muffin crumbles. I’ve adorned the new walls with watercolors of the Charles Bridge, a screen print of the Misty Mountains. Photographs of luminous jellyfish, Christmas markets, baseball diamonds. S-Bahn stubs.
I worked. Hard. I have dreams, and dream a little too often to say I’m the most productive employee, but I’m capable, confident. They like me well enough. I want more and dream of Crimson sweatshirts in another fall. Mine. Fitted just for me. Sleeves nibbled and well-loved by pencils and pens and books and papers everywhere. Curling up in a library and stretching tall in front of the classroom. I want to know things. I want to be good. I want to be kind. I want to be strong.
The little layers of me uncurl and wake up. I unearth myself, and all these little things, a little Matryoshka of my own crafting.
I think of it too often. Why we fell apart, why you say it’s entirely my doing and undoing, why my “loneliness” “says everything.”
How very little you must feel to say my life is not full, when only one piece is temporarily misplaced, a spot I reserve for one who could compare to all the little things I add up
in just one day.
In just one year.