I Still Can’t Escape The Memories Of You

I skulk slowly past your house in the shadowy cover of night on my way to the humble bench that was once, not long ago, our chosen meeting spot. I don’t need to see you. It makes me feel better somehow just to know you’re close, that if I wanted I could see you at any moment. Most of the time I’m suffocated by the idea of your constant proximity, but realistically I know that once you’re gone, I’ll grieve for you as freshly as I do now.

It’s a breezy, oddly temperate February evening. Perfect for our former rendezvous here, a simple wooden seat around the corner from where you live. You waited patiently, laughing at me as I ran up to squeeze you close, holding me while we joked and giggled until even the raccoons scurrying into the bushes looked askance at us. We always lingered long past our agreed upon curfew, shivering as we clutched onto each other, strolling through quiet, quaint, small town alleys. I was never willing to go, craving just five minutes, then five minutes more, on and on, both of us swept up in the rush of giddy newborn love. I’ve never been happier than I was on those simple evenings.

Now I sit here alone, staring up at the all too familiar streetlamp, the eucalyptus trees that lead me to recall inside jokes, banter that only makes sense to the two of us. The breeze picks up—dry, brittle leaves slap the ground around me like fat raindrops. I’ll never see eucalyptus again without wondering where your heart has made its home.

Being here brings back a time so innocently joyful that I suddenly choke on my own memories, so I hurriedly rise and begin to walk. There’s not much respite there either, but at least the streets hold other past nights in their grasp. The bench was only ever yours and mine. I don’t know if I came here to feel soothed or tear myself apart all over again. I’m neither, instead agitated and defeated in the same instant. It’s maddening to stay with my emotions, so move I must.

My antsy feet take me to your darkened, eerily silent street before I quite understand what’s happening. Lucky for me, this is an early-to-bed sort of community. No one is awake to peer out from the curtained bay window of a cedar-shingled beach house and see me lurking uncertainly in the center of the road. I don’t know what I’m doing here, why I have no will to let you be. Slowly, I pull my beanie down low over my sorrowful eyes, shove my hands into my jacket pockets, and let my body melt into a crouch. My head hangs to my chest, burdened with the weight of unspoken hopes and lost chances. I almost hope for a pickup truck, manned by some drunken fool, to whip around the corner and end my desperation, but I know it won’t. I almost hope for you to somehow sense my presence, step out your front door to enfold me in your arms, and end this intolerable pain. But I know you won’t.

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