A Dream In Which I Run Into You In The Wine Aisle

neon sign saying wine and spirits
Johsie Ault

That Ghost Pines Cabernet you’d buy for our clandestine nights is already in your cart. I wonder if it’s for her, do you sit with her and hold her like you did me, and drink it? Did you really buy it for me back then, or were they bottles she’d leave at your place?

I swore I’d stop romanticizing what we had. I swore I’d try to bury your memory and stop painting you in my poetry. I swore I would try to hate you. But seeing you standing there and making eye contact with you again, makes me feel like my body has slipped from me and betrayed me. You look at me and it’s something reminiscent of meteorites. There’s a swelling in my chest, a heady fire mixing in my veins.

You walk up to me and tell me you’ve read all of my poetry. Your eyes say it before your lips do, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so goddamn sorry. I want to ask you for what. You and I were never together, there were never any expectations, any commitments, any promises you were supposed to keep. We broke those to other people together, again and again, for how many years, I try not to count anymore.

But you should be sorry. You gave me hope, and you know this. You used words you shouldn’t have like transcendent, love, fate. You and I, we really could have had it all. I want to tell you that. I want to ask you if you’re happy, if you ever lay awake in the dark and look at her and wish it was my silhouette resting next to you. But I don’t.

I want to put my arms around your neck and curl my fingers in your hair until your fist is hanging tight on to my own strands and you’re kissing me like you always do. But I don’t. I want to tell you how much I miss you. How much lonelier it’s been without your ear. But I don’t. I want to tell you I’m sorry for blocking your number, but I couldn’t have you in my life and not be with you anymore. I want to tell you I loved you but you made me feel like a cheap hotel room and that I’d sometimes cry imagining you going home to her. I want to tell you we missed our chance for the umpteenth time when I left him but we could make this encounter our final one. But I don’t.

I don’t do any of that.

I know how easy it would be to fall back into you, the way each raindrop falls into the sea. I know how easy it would be to bend into you and take you any way I could have you. I know if you had really meant the things you said each time you held my face between your hands you would have been with me a long time ago. We’d be walking this grocery store together. But the reality is she is at home waiting for you.

I don’t do or say anything I wish I could. I just swallow the hurricane inside my throat and pray to the god I don’t believe in you don’t see it brewing out of my chest, and I smile, as friendly as I can. I tell you not to worry about it, I lie and tell you it’s history. I pat your arm before walking away and say, “thank you for all the poetry.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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