Somewhere In Between
Your skin glowed in chrome and crimson lights. That nook between the crinkles near your eyes appeared when you smiled as I played the piano, and for the fifteenth time, today evening, you told me this was just like it had been for the ten summers we had idled away in love. I smiled back at you and found comfort in your repetition.
We spoke of the future, of when I wouldn’t be alive, and you laughed as you narrated a casual eulogy for me. Would you be happy after I was gone? Ten years’ worth of memories, of all the funny anecdotes, of the bitter arguments, of fighting and kissing, of traveling and discovering. Surely you wouldn’t forget me.
I played the tune you loved dancing to, and without premeditating, you took my hand and we swirled on the mattresses on the floor, entangling the bedsheets and kicking around the pillows. You hummed the song, I sang along; your fingers set in the echo of the groove on my back you’d left behind when we arrived at our denouement last year.
You seemed to have noticed how our skin buzzed with the contact, because you gradually slowed down and wouldn’t look me in the eyes anymore. I couldn’t help but wonder.
I thought of you dancing with a boy, a boy you loved, and maybe (if I was lucky) you’d see a glimpse of my gray in his blue eyes. And maybe you’d stop smiling and dancing, and maybe you’d tell him he’d never fill the void the way I did. And maybe you’d touch his face but feel your skin needing mine. And maybe you’d leave him puzzled and upset, because you realized I was your favorite girl. And maybe you’d come to see me, and cry silently as I slumbered under a slab of stone. And maybe you’d get angry at the inscription engraved, and tell the earth I was so much more. And maybe you’d walk back home, the bougainvillea flowers slipping between your defeated fingers, falling like stars in the graveyard.
“Nora, I still love you,” I said.
You answered, as you rolled your eyes, “You say that every time you see me.”
“And it’s always true. I always have and I always do.”
You laughed again, awkwardly now, understanding that I wasn’t fooling around. “I’m sorry, Audrey,” you said. “There is love, and there is meant-to-be; we lie somewhere in between.”
In the warm fairy-lights of my porch, I saw you get up – just a silhouette – and head to the gate. I followed you silently, and felt like I’d taken these steps before. I felt like I’d seen you walk away with a sort of finality before. I felt like my heart had broken the same way before. I felt like we were over, a second time.
You paused, you told me you had to leave, and like I did the last time,
I let you go.