I was perfectly sober when I hit send, if it makes any difference.
In the months since that was that, I never tried to contact you. I didn’t call – though at first I wanted to – and instead, wisely deleted your number from my phone and got on with living. The thing about smart-phones though, is they’re smart – they remember. All I had to do was type your name. I didn’t say I missed you. Nothing mushy or pathetic, just that I thought of you. And naturally, you had no response. I didn’t expect one. All it could do is open a big can of worms, and who wants to do that? I do, I do, I do. Lying in bed last night, eyes squinting against the glow of my cell phone, I was all too anxious to pop the lid, reach in and grab a wad of fat, writhing night-crawlers. A fistful of worms has to be better than this… nothing I’m holding onto.
Not seeing you at the jewelry counter that day did it, you know. Opened the floodgates. Up until then, I’d been too preoccupied to give you any mental space. But things are quieter now, settled, and I’m no longer worried about where next month’s rent check will come from, or what would happen to me if I got hit by a bus. And in that lull, where fear has been replaced by steady routine, there is suddenly all this room for you. It’s like what happens when your body, after being used to constant stress and strain, slows down and finds a moment of rest – a moment of weakness, actually, because that’s when the virus you’ve been fighting takes over.
And you’ve all but taken over. I’m not sad, really, but I am unsettled. There are things I didn’t indulge before – memories better left undisturbed, that now keep me awake a night. You, kissing me, your fingertips light on my throat. My brain sighed, “squeeze,” and your hand, hearing, obeyed. It’s not something you can teach someone, to read another person like that. You just knew. And you, later in the dark, suddenly quiet.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing. I’m just smiling,” you said, the truth of it in your voice. “I’m just very happy.”
Me, too buddy. Me, too.