If there’s one thing that could tell me everything about us, it’s the leaving-for-work moment.
One boyfriend would regularly come kiss me goodbye just before heading out. It was like being awakened in a field of him: the way he smelled, the scent of a new beginning while I was still cooing in half-yesterday. The way his shirt would crinkle as I grabbed it, trying to bring him back into my sleepy-soft world.
I loved the freshness of it: the minty teeth, shiny-tiled, engine-started — and me a ball of dough in his lap, still baking.
I knew he was ironed and lines and creases, he couldn’t be taken back in. But in the underbelly of my cloudy morning mind, I thought maybe I could find my partner under all of it, buried in the geometry. It was worth trying.
I thought about this moment years later when I was living in Spain, dating a new man. I couldn’t wait for it — for the moment we would meet at the blanket border of our separate worlds. Him, race-ready; me, cheeks still etched with sheets.
Then one morning, the moment had come. I was in his bed and he was leaving for the office. I felt him looking at me as he adjusted his tie. He sat down on the bed. I cooed. I reached for him.
“How do I look?” he asked.
My breath stopped short. I couldn’t believe it. He had ruined it. With ego.
“Babe… I can’t see in the morning… I’m blind, remember?” I have like, 20/500 vision. It alarms people. I only like it when I can be super close to someone’s face and see tales in their wrinkles. It is then that I can see more than people with 20/20 vision. I can see eternities, pasts, endings.
He came close to kiss me. He knew what he had done. Or maybe he didn’t. I like to think he did. To at least have something shared, that piece of knowledge of not quite fitting together.
He was wearing too much cologne. It was harsh on my budding nostrils: I have not come into the world yet, you must be gentle with me. I am sensitive, flowering. The chemicals attacked me and pushed me back down toward the earth, where I stayed for a while, wondering what went wrong.
He left, and I knew. Sometimes you know.