It wasn’t you that I saw, standing tall and rail-straight, just on the other side of the jewelry counter. But it didn’t matter; it may as well have been, with the way I felt the room lurch and spin. I dug my nails under the polished metal rim of the counter and ducked my head, not wanting to make eye contact with you. My fingertips left steamy smears on the cold, clean glass.
I pretended to care about tacky heart-shaped pendants, knowing I should look up, say hello and feign that I wasn’t all at once stumbling drunk with missing you. I thought about what it might do to me to hug you. I remembered how, if there was anything unsatisfying about touching you, it was that you never left your scent behind. You didn’t stay on my clothes or my sofa cushions – the only evidence you’d ever been at home with me, an emptied wine glass next to my own.
I swallowed your memory, pushing it down into my uneasy stomach and finally looked up. But like I said, it wasn’t you. Too old, too wide about the shoulders, too not you. So I rang for the sales clerk, finished my business and drove home slowly, feeling suddenly lonesome and a little hungover.