Someone engraved your name in concrete in front of a tiny cemetery on 21st and 6th. I step on it everyday on my way to work and wince when I see the letters of your name beside the dead.
Last July, I was sharing small talk and dessert with a man who was not you when your best friend called. I immediately answered the phone because I felt something was wrong. I knew something was wrong. Every summer, for the past 6 years, you were in trouble.
Since we broke up, the late night phone calls were heavy, you confessed I was the woman you wanted to marry. You insisted that one day we would meet again in Paris and nothing would feel like it had changed. But everything had changed. Everything we built together you gave away for the sake of carnal impulse.
My heart pushed its way from my chest and into my stomach when your best friend told me: “Please don’t freak out, but I think you should know that he’s been in a car accident. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and he may not survive…”
I remembered the last time we were at the hospital I was the patient. You stayed with me only five minutes because you said I looked ugly when I was sick. The next morning you brought me flowers and fed me tomato soup, it was your way of an apology. When you took me home, you promised to take care of me, but you left me, you disappeared — for days — only to come back and break my heart again.
Across from me sat the man who was not you and while the words medically induced coma whirled in my brain like an unhinged carousel, I studied him. His attenuated lips were flakey, he didn’t call me “babies”, he didn’t hold me in the shower while he cried, he didn’t even laugh at my silly waddle or drive thirty minutes in the middle of the night to help me search for my childhood toy. He was older, maybe too old. He was boring. He was safe. He wasn’t you — I wished he was — until I realized that love is only as strong as it is weak.
Our love was debility, our love was fear, our love was necessity, our love was quiet until it became too loud.
“Call his new girlfriend” I whimpered. “I’m not his anymore.” I hung up, swallowed my tears and finished my dessert.