I sometimes wonder who you became after you left.
Maybe one day we’ll meet again and talk about life since then, about what happened after you turned around and smiled one final time and walked away. I called my mom after 53 minutes when I remembered how to speak and she cried when she saw the look on my face.
We’d talk about how far we’ve both come and how happy we are.
You’d tell me you did everything you wanted to do, and I’d already know because you always do. You’d tell me about the trips you took, the countries you’ve seen, the jobs you got, the people you’ve met, and I would listen and be happy for you and wonder if you’ve missed me at all.
Maybe you would ask how I’ve been and I’d talk about me.
I’d tell you about the trips I took, the countries I’ve seen, the jobs I got, the people I’ve met. How I started writing again, how it changed my life, how it brought me here. How things took unexpected turns, how I’m doing better than ever before. I’d tell you about the magic summer I had that year, the one I had hoped we’d get to spend together, but I wouldn’t say that because we didn’t.
I wouldn’t talk about the first weeks after you left.
I wouldn’t talk about the times I longed for you when I sat by the ocean or how I never bought your favorite granola again. I wouldn’t talk about the parties I left early, or the playlists I couldn’t listen to, or the shivers on my back at the sound of your name.
You look great, by the way; thanks, so do you.
Maybe you’d say you like my writing but you wouldn’t ask if it was about you because you’d know and I wouldn’t say that it was about me because it wouldn’t matter.
And perhaps we’d order coffee and you’d say, “remember when,” and I would laugh and my heart would break all over again.
We wouldn’t talk about lovers.
We’d talk about how young we were back then and how fast the years went by, and we’d look at each other and smile, and I would think damn, those eyes.
Maybe I’d touch your arm, saying something pointless, and you’d pretend to find it funny. We’d finish our coffee and you would pay and I’d say no but you’d insist, and I would smile because nothing has changed.
I’d ask you to come for a walk if you don’t have plans for the night, and maybe you’d say yes. It would be late summer or early fall in the city, and maybe we’d find something to talk about.
Maybe I’d show you where I live now and ask if you want to come up. It’s not much, but it’s home.
It would be that time of day when the night falls through the blinds, casting long golden shadows on the red brick walls and plants and books, and we wouldn’t turn the lights on. I’d look at you from across the room, and you’d look around the place and let your eyes wander over the few things that are mine until our eyes meet and we’d both know.
You’d walk towards me and I’d hesitate, but my lips would part and tell without a word everything I shouldn’t say. And there you’d be, standing in front of me, and I’d think about how we got here, how we walked up the staircase to my apartment, how your hand brushed my hand when we walked through the park, how you smiled at me over coffee, how you never let me in, and how that would never change.
At that moment, I’d remember how you left, saying it’s a small world, that surely our paths will cross at some point in the future, and I’d realize it was your way of apologizing for saying goodbye.
I would realize that maybe, in a world that is small but big enough to pull us apart, you and I won’t meet again after all.