I think about what it would be like if we had never met. Where I would be or who I would be. I think about the differences between the girl I was before him and the girl I’m turning into now as we part ways. The distance is immeasurable. Even in the smallest of details. He likes my hair dark and long best and now I do, too. Our Chinese restaurant and the “usual” we would order each time. Sharing leftovers on our knees in front of the T.V. The time that Riley snatched the steak right off his plate… he grabbed it and ate it anyway. The shows that we discovered and shared together and now feel empty or heartless to watch alone. On hot days when he would surprise me with my favourite smoothie on his way home. Driving to my cottage, bare feet hanging out the window, painted toes flashing in the sunlight. The tug of a braid as he whispered “Pippi”. Morning coffee runs. Rainy Sundays when he’d let me sleep just long enough for me to miss him and then would crawl back into bed smelling of damp grass and errands. The stolen kisses in the movie store. The hand he held and how he would always raise my arm up when we got to a curb. Cooking dinner together his hands on my waist and lips on my neck.
“I love you.”
I keep telling myself we weren’t happy. That I knew the whole time that it wasn’t right and that it was doomed for failure. I’m kidding myself and I know it with every memory that fades in and out. I called him “the one” in the bar where we stole our first kiss. I believed it.
I believed it.
Sunshine for the spotless mind. Let’s go back and erase it. Let’s neither of us remember the last three years. But, then who would I be now?
I’m playing him music I’ve only just discovered as he makes himself a sandwich and hands me a beer. We are careful not to touch too often. With the dog between us we fill each other in. Things we’ve been missing. I leave so many details out. We have developed a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and with that careful boundary we tiptoe around topics. I don’t mention you. I don’t mention California. Instead, we laugh about the dog. We catch eyes. We talk about work and friends. It’s precarious but it is a start. I’ve quit cold turkey before. I’ve tried to erase the past. I’ve buried memories in the closet. Deleting photographs from my hard drive. Not this time. Maybe with time the hurt will fade and we will emerge like the phoenix a friendship born from the ashes of this relationship. Maybe we are kidding ourselves.
Sitting on the floor the puppy catapults herself into my arms a bundle of nervous energy she squirms up to cover my face in kisses. In this moment I don’t want to cut ties. I don’t want to let go. So, I carefully tie a ribbon from her paw to my heart and trail it after me as I climb over the fence and return to my own home. The girl next door.
I leave the light on.
Sara Schiralli – Bang Bang