It’s been a long time, you said. And I knew what you meant by that. It had.
The daylight made squares on the wall across from your bed. Eyes closed, you were humming along to the LP that was playing. It must have been The Strokes, knowing you. Your brown curls bounced across your forehead as you swayed to the part where Julian says, “In many ways, they’ll miss the good old days.” The black scuffs on your not-so-old shoes born proudly. If only we knew back then – that autumn afternoon, as prosaic as the previous, was the good old days. We were too busy dreaming of breaking out of that small town, to far off places where we’d meet far out boys and the girls with their megalopolitan allure, to ever notice.
We took the bus to the shore. Chasing powerlines until everything turned blue. In faded jeans and white t’s. The shaved ice stand was closed up for winter, but otherwise a particularly warm Saturday afternoon lead us to walking barefoot in the sand. Our words were few, but after all the talks of transoceanic travels and all that was divine, the silence was welcome. We stayed until the streetlamps flickered on. A couple sat on the breakwater, and a group played frisbee nearby.
And on the edge of the jetty where our legs hung above the water, you said I’d break your heart. Because I’m so young. And I told you that I wouldn’t. That I know what I want. That I’m not like your ex. But turns out in the end I was. I felt my youth being squeezed away. I talked a big game, but when it came to the final moments I felt a pressure from all sides.
Maybe I was impulsive. Sometimes I still feel like I made a terrible mistake. When I close my eyes I can nearly taste the saltiness of a warm sea breeze in the air and feel the warmth of the high noon sun. But I’m not there anymore. I left the palms behind. The evenings playing pool, the friends from far places, the late nights crossing the harbor on my way home. The life that I built for myself.
But, in the end, the hardest part was leaving you.