This Time I Didn’t Tell You Goodbye

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Ari Eastman Goodbyes and California
God & Man

I thought about calling you before moving.

I thought about a lot of things. About the closure. About the finality of you knowing I’m back in Los Angeles. About the murky waters we left us in. About your hand on my back in the elevator. About your dimple. Always that damn dimple.

Yesterday, I told Alyssa I dream about you two times a week. Sometimes three. I don’t do it on purpose. I don’t even go to bed thinking about you. In waking days, I have considered us done. A closed chapter. But somewhere in my REM cycle, you find me. And it’s always the same. A reunion. Someone is hurt. Someone is disappointed. There’s a girlfriend. I am guilty or you are. Still, we cannot deny the truth. It doesn’t matter how the dream is set up, the chemistry remains the same. It’s us. It’s us admitting we were always going to find our way back. And we do. Every damn time, we do.

You never wanted to live in Los Angeles. I never wanted to live in New York. There we were, standing on two different ends of the country unwilling to find common ground.

But suddenly, we were back in the same time zone. We were in the same state. We were a 30 minute drive. You knew my address and I knew your face.

I am trying to understand how we got here. How we loved each other so intensely and still chose other things. How we kept trudging along in other relationships, but still tried not to say the wrong names. How dreams keep popping up even when I’m convinced this is the last of us.

I thought about calling you. But I didn’t. I didn’t text. I didn’t email. I didn’t let my heart take the microphone.

I am sorry. I am sorry for how far apart we’ve become.

I will always miss you.

But now? I’m gone. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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