It will be winter. It will freeze you, it will thaw you, it won’t be as bad as they had warned. It will be a weekday and it will be the way he walked through the door. It will be the hat he wore and his crooked posture and his quiet confidence. It will be the space he fills and it will be something only you can see.
He’ll come and he’ll stay and the minutes he’s there will feel longer than the ones that came before. It will be the details of the day and the way they stack themselves and sew tightly to your mind. They will weigh heavy on the other side of your skin, they will last you until the spring.
It will be a sunny day in a different month. It will be a new sidewalk that intersects the spot you chose. It will be the thick air and the smell of fresh paint. It will be three weeks in, it will feel like much less. The glass that traces your building will be begging for a breeze. You will open the double doors and it will be an accidental sighting.
You’ll be busy, you’ll be still, your skin will write out every word you do not speak. The air will try to translate what you’re keeping inside. It will pour out every bit that March, April, May worked so hard to wash away. And when you come face to face, it won’t take syllables or sentences to make it familiar. He’ll stand against the white brick wall and it will fit him like a frame. The cement edges will trace head to toe and you’ll try your best to hide your half smile.
It will be weeks before you build your bravery. But when the soon meets the later and your want outweighs your fear, you’ll speak up. And that’s when it will take a sharp turn into something. You’ll hold on and it will be welcome and understood and all of the things you imagined it could be.
You’ll look forward to the time you spend. You’ll feel safe, you’ll feel scared, you’ll feel bits of what lives in between. You’ll take walks to nowhere, you’ll squint towards the sun, you’ll stand on steps to reach him. You’ll pass words back and forth, you’ll keep a few of his, you’ll rest them next to you. Your eyes will grow heavy, your mind will fall quiet, you’ll get to sleep so easily.
But he’ll drift when you aren’t looking. He’ll let days dissolve. He’ll be scared, he’ll be different, he’ll be many things he never shares with you. And he’ll be gone before you have time to catch on. His exit will vaporize and it will lay over your shell like a misty layer. It won’t come off with a scrub or a cry or even several of each. You’ll try to repeat all of the lies and lists you think could help to erase what you’re feeling. The ones you took from books and screens, the ones you saved hoping never to use. You’ll rip out the pages, you’ll use them to mask your memories. You’ll take what’s left to make a sail, you’ll let the wind catch and cast you. The waves will stir and storm, they’ll wash the tears from your face, they’ll pull you from your anchored pain. They’ll write a gentle rhythm, they’ll rock you into a rest and with enough miles and minutes, they’ll get you back to dreaming.