I’m not writing about you because I did that with old flames, past flings, and forgotten loves, and you are not forgotten.
On the contrary, I think about you every day. It gets annoying, thinking of you. It disrupts my daily routine and lures me back to the unknown. Quite terrifying, honestly. Believe me when I say that I try hard to keep things at bay, but the universe has its way to reel me back like an unassuming fish swimming carelessly towards the bait. And I find myself hooked to you, line and sinker, before I can help myself.
I don’t want to write about you because you’re not just some character who comes and goes in my life only to leave a fascinating story that I will tell at parties or night outs with girl friends when I had too much to drink. You know I can’t even finish half a cider, and there is no Mad Mex in Cairo to sober me up for the storytelling to even get started.
Now, don’t freak out. Don’t run away. I am not going to profess my big, massive, colossal emotional outbursts to the high heavens because it’s too early for that. I will not even mention your piercing blue eyes because they are a light shade of green to begin with.
What I would, if I may, is say out loud that Leonardo DiCaprio is not a good distraction because seeing his hair parted in the middle instantly triggers a recent recollection. And it’s not just my fascination with DiCaprio’s fine hair but yours. It could also be a photo on my newsfeed of friends trying N2 Extreme Gelato for the first time. As soon as I hit the ‘like’ button, I am immediately taken back to you — to that exact moment I had salted caramel and you did not deny yourself cookies and cream.
Ah, the inevitable beginning. You said we’ll go where the wind takes us and that’s exactly what we did. You burst into my apartment with fresh blueberries and printed photos of Abu Simbel. You are charming and told me stories of your contiki tour. You had me at fresh blueberries. You had me the moment you walked through that door.
You had me at dashes, and semi colons, and IMHOs and IRLs that don’t mean a thing to anyone else reading this now. But the subtext is there.
Sometimes, I wonder if eating all the felafel in the world will make you appear in Cairo even for a fraction of an apparition. What I do know is that sharing a cheap imitation of baba ghanoush with you is much more satisfying than any authentic middle eastern deli I am eating on my own.
I could be watching episode reruns of Dexter, I could be listening to the music of the 90s, I could be seeing disposable paper plates in the grocery section, and then telling my friends that ‘I am going to the drink to get a bar’ when you become most palpable. Most people won’t get it. They won’t understand try as they might, but I’m sure you would.
The Star has a different meaning because of you. To most people, it would mean one of those shiny, sparkly bits of twinkling bodies in the night sky. To me, it’s black jack, the roulette, the pokie machines, the pretend bets and pretend winnings and pretend drinking! It’s New Year’s Eve and everything else that followed after that.
Fourteen bottles of wine, wogs, office pranks, 9,000 steps around the cbd, endless cigarette breaks, glow sticks, Berangaroo, even the little mouse in a corner on Pitt St. — these are things I consider mine because of you. It’s the inside jokes and bits and pieces of anecdotes that would make perfect sense to no one but you.
It’s all about the overpriced bottled water you bought, the pigeons crashing in your apartment, the old man that got bitten by an aggressive dog. It’s the way I now have nightmares of life-size dolls and day dreams of plane crashes.
It’s all of these nuisances — the accumulation of inane snippets that lead me back straight to your bait and hook. I don’t know why it matters, or why your presence and absence is more poignant than the rest. What I do know is that the details of that summer weigh heavy on my skin that it is enough to last the whole fall. Maybe it’s the fact that we didn’t say goodbye but see you later.
And when the soon meets the later and my want outweighs my fear, maybe then I will speak up. Maybe then I will know. Maybe I’m waiting for winter — for things to freeze and thaw. But perhaps I won’t write about you even after then because I don’t need to remember. I am reminded every day no matter the season. You are alive and real, right here, right now, in my mind’s little cinema, where I see you in colors that don’t exist.