It’s the night before your birthday. I walk between work and home in the rain. Frangipanis still squelch underfoot, but I can smell the cold. I walk fast and think of you.
Of how we talked before we met. Tap, tap, tap. Fingers spilling secrets between unfamiliar worlds. I would love to learn more about you.
When did we meet? It was the day I felt nothing. The day you said you wanted to see me again and I didn’t say no. You told me that it had been over with her three months. I’m looking to get on with my life. You didn’t tell me her name.
Was it the third time we met? When you talked music and motorbikes and spiders and the law, and made me laugh? Under a streetlight you kissed me. Only brushed my surprised lips. If I still felt nothing, I thought and thought and thought of you until morning.
You talked of selling the flat that was yours and hers. I had planned never to sleep in that flat. You helped me keep it. I’m looking to get on with my life. But whose voice were you expecting each time you answered the phone?
She went home to England to be apart and think, then didn’t come back. Leaving you alone with seven years of together. I’m just learning to be by myself.
Was it that same night you told me you remembered being seven, on a Paris street, with your mother cursing in French from her thigh-high boots? I wanted to reach across the table and bring you back from your long-dead mother, but I didn’t. Later, with my arms around you, I still couldn’t bring you back.