Before I left your apartment this morning, I stood in the living room. It was about five past six and the sun was starting to poke through the kitchen window. I took a look around, the same way I did when I thought we were saying goodbye three months ago and I had left that hand written note on your coffee table. I went to the cupboard and stared at my wine glass, sat beside your ‘Guinness’ pint. I went to the television and touched the plush panda I gave you on Christmas, perched high on the cable box. I glanced at the shot glass on top of the fridge I had brought you back from Vegas. And then I sat. And I picked up the Eckhart Tolle book that I’d told you to keep, just beneath the remote control. I unfolded the flap and underneath, wrote the words “Please be well. I love you.” I placed it back where I found it, knowing you may never see those words, even if you do read the book, while odds are, you won’t. You may never know when I wrote them. But maybe someday, when you come home drunk in a fit of rage and you throw it at the wall, the flap might open. And there they will be.
I hope that all good things will find you at the right time, exactly when you need them. In the same way, maybe I did, a year ago. I know this wasn’t about longevity. As much as I’d hoped, with our will, there’d be a way, I know that we are different. And that maybe just the impact in which I loved you, was meant to stay. I know I wasn’t easy. I didn’t come out and put it into words. I didn’t grab your face or take your hand as often as I had liked to. I held back and stayed quiet. But I sat with you on nights sleep had evaded us. I held you in times you couldn’t hold it all together. Or when you felt alien to yourself and couldn’t bare the thought of going home alone. I didn’t care how it looked. And perhaps, that’s what you took for granted, but I know I did the best I could in times you can’t remember.
The hardest part of turning away is not knowing. And knowing I can’t still be there. Or pick up the phone when you can’t drive home. I don’t want you to write yourself off. I don’t want to think about the drinks you’ve had and the way you stay up late, driving yourself crazy. I don’t want to get the call the night your luck runs out or your lifestyle gets the best of you because I cannot stand over a casket and say goodbye to you all over again.
I don’t know why you came into my life the way you did. Nor am I sure how I built this tolerance, this willingness to start loving you. It may have been a test of my strength or my selflessness. But more than that, maybe a testament of serendipity—like the way one dances in a downpour on a summer day.
When I left this morning, I locked the door behind me. I remember thinking of the need to feel numb in case it might hit me. And then I thought how I might transform that into something more productive. But the tears still came, as they do right now. Not a downpour—just a slow, steady rain on a sunny day, when I think of you. I vowed, this time, to leave my resentment behind. I know you didn’t give it all you had for me. Nor could you do this as selflessly. But I don’t think that matters now. What I have for you is blind, because the hues of those flames, were bright and they never stopped burning.
I know I’ll try to stow you away in times of weakness. Or convince myself that this was all made-up. But there will always be remnants of the man whose smile, and spirit, and colors could not escape my soul.
You may never be okay with the things you can’t change. You may never stop saying things that you can’t retain. But you have to know, that when the bars close and your money is spent, and your youth slips away from you, you can always go home. Not to that place on Ford Street or the highway in Queens. But to the dwelling inside yourself. To the bashful, brilliant, beautiful spirit I’ve met time and time again. And when you bleed, you can bleed those colors shamelessly. There is not a canvas you choose, you can’t hang on the wall and call home—as long as you know you can be there within yourself.
I don’t know what serendipity will have in store for me. Or if I’ll see you again, in good health. Though when you skim through the pages or thumb through your memory, you can think of me, no matter where we are physically. Under the flap, beside the wall, where the pages fell. And there I will be. “I love you. Be well.”