I went to an open mic night Tuesday night in our hometown. I usually avoid making the trip for fear I might run into you, but I thought it being a week-night at a tiny bar made the chances of seeing you non-existent. I had promised my friend I would come see him play so many times, but always made excuses so I wouldn’t see you.
I was right, you weren’t there. I didn’t take into consideration though that your friends might be. I looked up and there she was already with arms open wide to hug me. Your best friend. The friend that you told our whole story to. The friend that you consulted for advice when we were having issues. The friend that we took a trip with to NYC. The friend who witnessed us together on multiple occasions and saw our chemistry. The friend who knows how deeply I loved you. The friend I knew would tell you she ran into me after so many months.
I knew she’d ask me how I’d been, and I didn’t want to lie. But how could I even begin to tell her the truth about how gutted my heart has been? I knew everything I said would get back to you. I told her that I’ve been good. She didn’t need to know that the only thing I’ve been good at is lying about being good.
She and I talked briefly. You never came up. I asked her questions about her travels and what she’s been doing all this time. Then, she went back to the other side of the bar and picked up her phone to text who I assume had to be you. Her boyfriend and best friends were already at the bar. Who else would she be texting? At the same time, a song came on at the bar that you and I had sung frequently together. It was like the world was trying to taunt me.
It was probably a good thing that your name didn’t come up in conversation, but I found myself wishing you had. I wanted to know how you were after all of this time, and if you’d been struggling like me. I refocused my attention on my friend’s performance and pretended to be unbothered by this sudden rush of emotion and memories.
My only solace? Knowing that when you ask if I mentioned you, she’ll say you didn’t come up, and she’ll tell you that I’ve been good.