You’ll contact me when I’m least expecting it. To avoid the cliché, I’ll pretend I’ve been anticipating this, but inside I’m shocked and stirred and shaken. You’ll explain yourself, the current situation or predicament, and I won’t hear any of it except the drumroll, the foot tap, the deep breath to brace for what’s coming next.
We’ll pick a place. Not too quiet, not too loud. Somewhere we’ve never been because neither of us wants to be reminded of our past. We hurdle towards the date, marked far enough away for us to revel in the suspense, close enough to avoid a change of mind.
I’m nervous and giddy and it feels like Christmas Eve and the morning of my birthday and our wedding anniversary all rolled into one. I choose my costume, a look that says I’m not trying but we both know I am. With you, I’m always trying.
A thousand scenes of our past dance through my head. All rationality is out of earshot, held below the surface, gurgling and pleading for a chance to reason. I walk into the bar and scan the room and you’re absent. I tell myself your late arrival has nothing to do with whether or not you care and everything to do with traffic or location.
And just as I’m about to text you, the door swings open. The music fades and the crowd blurs and all I see is you. I am the deer caught in the headlights, frozen. What now? What now?
And then it hits me. Slams into my soul and I am numb. You’re standing, searching for your missing sock or your belt or your phone and I am cast to the side of the road, quickly fading from your present and nowhere in your future.