I could count the days since the last time I saw you, or since the last time I screwed you and kissed you goodnightgoodmorning and agreed that I should move clothes into your closet, but I gave up counting days when I hit 100. You’ve moved away, of course you’ve moved away, and you didn’t say goodbye, but I didn’t expect a goodbye, and I’ve known you were going to move because you move when life sucks and you leave when your heart breaks and you move because you’ve made a living out of leaving.
Before, during, we created tracklists of songs by singers who knew what we felt before we knew what we felt or before we could tell each other what we felt, as if these CDs was easier than saying I don’t ever want to lose you; don’t leave me; I don’t know how to handle how much I feel for you; this CD is the closest thing to my heart that I can give you. Take it. Protect it. Love it. And, if you want, love me too.
I’ve dated since you, and I’ve screwed since you, oh, have I screwed since you, and you’d be surprised by the tricks I’ve learned and the miles I’ve traveled and the way my body has shrunk where it matters and expanded where it matters and the way I inhabit the body you once knew as well as you knew your own. The scar is still there, of course the scar is still there, the scar will always be there; but you are not the only man who touched that scar and called it beautiful.
Avery, my son, not that you’ve forgotten, because for a while Avery was your son too, turned four a couple of weeks ago. He’s forgotten you, and I’m sorry he’s forgotten you, but he’s forgotten you, and I’m sure he’s forgotten you, but then he will say hi, jogger, which you taught him, and he will describe how to feed a fish, which you taught him, and he will not take a bath and he will say that in baths he feels like an ingredient in a soup, which you taught him. I’ve stopped crying, and Avery has stopped asking me what is broken, and I’ve stopped lying to him and telling him that nothing is broken because nothing is broken.
And Aurora, the daughter you never met, is nine months and says da-da and ma-ma and ba-ba, and she laughs and she looks like me. You would have called her another person you couldn’t help but love, just as you called Avery a person you couldn’t help but love, and just as you called me a person you couldn’t help but love. Of course, you yelled at me for deciding to conceive Aurora without telling – no, asking – you first, and now you’ll never know the babygirlwoman Aurora will become, but I can tell that Aurora will be awesome because, already, sweet-potato mouth and all, Aurora is fantastic.
For a while, I continued putting tracklists together of songs I discovered since you and I ceded each other’s undiscovered parts. For a while, these tracklists were the only way to reach you. Not that you heard these tracklists.
I’ve written about you, and about me, and about us. You know I’ve written about us. And the stories are out there. In six countries and Australia you can find magazines with fragments of our story; assemble the pieces and you’d get a fairly accurate faded picture of you with me, or me with you, and then, as it happened, you vs. me. That part of our story is out there, too, and everyone who reads that part of our story asks me why I loved you, and how I could still love you, and I lie and say of course I no longer love you, but I love you because I’ve stopped counting the days since the last time I saw you, or since the last time I screwed you and kissed you goodnightgoodmorning and agreed that I should move clothes into your closet.
Some days I think you’re single and some days I think you’re engaged (but I bet my ring was better!) and happy and convinced I was just a hurdle to overcome in your race toward the finish line, and I never was much for running, though you should see me on the treadmill. 5.2 miles in an hour. I sweat. A lot. And then I shower. And the water is hot, the way we liked it in your apartment, with the door locked so your roommate couldn’t come in and watch us screwing in the shower. He didn’t need to come into the bathroom because he listened outside your bedroom door, and when he told you he was outside your bedroom door, listening to you and me screw, you didn’t ask him to stop.
Some days I think you want me to find you, and some days I think you’ve changed your name, and some days I think I want to change my name, but I will not change my name. In case you want to find me, I will be here not changing my name.
I’m going to London in a couple of weeks. I’ve thought about sending you a postcard. You and I were supposed to travel here together, if only to see parts of England where you grew up. I’d list 12 songs on the back of this postcard, and I’d wonder how many of these songs are already on your computer, and I’d sign the postcard with two words: Come Home.