I have a story rattling around in my head. Rather noisomely, and for years now. It's something about how you went and found love without me - a thing I still can't quite believe and yet believe entirely, aloof and strange a creature as you are.
I don't dare to speak of you in present tenses; I've no present knowledge of you.
Stephen swears you must have lost all your hair by now, then he laughs and laughs. Your gorgeous hair - I hope it's not gone. I hope you have a hole searing through your heart and a pit of absence in your gut that causes you periods of immense and unbearable sorrow every time you think of me. But the hair - I hope the hair, all the chocolate and soft lush waves of it, is all still there.
I stand so far outside of your life that I wonder if I ever existed at all. Feels almost like those wasted hours in grocery stores waiting for you to pick out a suitable spaghetti sauce. It was just one moment of the constant, intolerable anguish of witnessing you nickel and dime everything and everyone to death.
Was it a delay tactic? You always hated decisions.
What of those lazy afternoons at eighteen? What of dusky golden afternoons and your furtive caresses, when you thought I'd fallen asleep beside you? Hopeless for you, gone on you, as I was, you could never just reach out and touch me without the security of my ignorance. Was that it? Sometimes I only pretended to sleep. I loved you so, all of me was always yours, no matter who might distract me. And they couldn't have, if you had just been man enough to claim me. I know you watched me sleep; I know you pulled me close to you.
You left school after Sophomore year, and I blame Edward Hoagland for this fact. I blame him very much. I had always liked his work, but I can't even think of his name without remembering the loss he caused, so unintended. He told you to leave. He said you were already past whatever school could give you. You, nineteen years old and smarter than everyone else around you, but flailing about like everyone else around you. What did you know? What did he? You two dunces knocked your heads together during office hours and suddenly my sky grew dim. I needed you; you needed someone to ground you. Clever phrases aren't enough to make a life. I could have told him that, even back then. And now, so far as I know, you don't write at all. So that worked out well.
Then after college, when you finally told me you loved me, I was so confused because you never asked me to stay. I traveled three thousand miles across the US, stopping in Berkeley just to see you. But you never said move, you never said live with me. Then you went to Europe and invited me, but I'd no way to pay my way.
Did we only keep missing each other, or was it something else?
We never slept together, even as much as we slept together. You said it was a question of respect. So you read to me in bed, instead. And I listened to the induction of your hypnotic tones and breathed in the scent escaping your chaste t-shirt. Sometimes you'd kiss me and touch me some more. I thought I might faint.
You said you always believed we'd be married. You told me when we were eighteen, it was in the Spring, our halcyon days. That was the time I didn't remember, so you told me again when I was twenty-eight. That's the time I do. Then you disappeared within the year without so much as a good-bye, or a "maybe we shouldn't," or any sort of indication that things were about to go horribly awry. Horribly good-bye. It was that table trick with the cloth ripped out from under all the china and stemware, and maybe there's a vase. Except this time everything toppled and the floor was damp. The magician left the mess, so we just shut the door on that room.
Until next time, be well, dear Adam.