There’s leftover Epsom salt on the bottom of the tub from last night’s bath. I reach down through the water to loosen it with my hand. Opening the drain, I start the water again.
Bath number six It’s been 6 days since I’ve washed you from my body.
The figurative sword stabs in my stomach. Out from my throat, and in place of blood, spills silent feelings. I wrestled today with loneliness and deception. Hope spun out of control before I let it all go in desperation. What truly matters? Why was I there? Still, I wrestle with pinning reason.
The phone rings.
One week ago, two years later to the day, there you were outside the apartment it all began. Breathless, I lowered myself into the passenger’s seat.
You navigated the city streets with relaxed speed and casual ease. The type that’s so familiar with your own danger, driving on city streets at night is “I-could-do-this-with-my-eyes-closed-safe”. I wondered to myself how this was going to go. Somewhere in the middle of nervous banter, I loosened my curls from their top bun letting them fall all around me. You reached out to touch.
A tour of your one bedroom apartment. A trip to the corner store for wine. On the walk back you ask, “Why are you here?” Speechless and perplexed, I repeat, “Why am I here?”
Only to continually ask myself the same question over again.
Separated by empty space. My body tense. My words unable to come out. He looks at me with brilliant clear blue eyes. Fascinated. Confused. Intrigued. Concerned. Thinking, forever thinking. Face smooth, eyebrows translucent. As I wrestle with my anxiety, his features blend. I trace each of them with my eyes and, later, my hands.
“It feels different between us. The power dynamic shifted. It’s the same. I’m different. You’re not ok. Have you gone through some shit?”
Why am I here?
“Even after that text message?” His friends ask him, referring to my last enraged attempt to cease all communication after riding the ups and downs. Year after year. Phone call after phone call. One relentless decision after another. My heart. Fleeing into protection mode then, only to sabotage it all now.
Why am I here?
Separate sides of the room. Draped across his body on the couch. In his room, clothes lost in the entanglement of sheets and bodies. His body on mine. Mine on his.
Wine. Music. Laughter. Connection. Love. Lost. Love lost.
Time got away from us that night. And the cool mist-like rain of a very early morning reminded me I’ve outstayed my welcome. The city no longer exists past September for me. Pulled close to his chest. He entered the car to say goodbye.
Bewildered and broken in the airport. Tears streaming down my face on the plane. Thoughts unclear on the car ride home. Engulfed by him as I finally haul my suitcase over the threshold 2,000 plus miles away.
One person, a living dichotomy. His essence collides. Equal parts of everything that’s right and wrong – comprising one being and igniting the same outcome. I long for you more than anyone else. Tortured and torn by our pattern of the cliche star-crossed lovers. Separate but together, you hurt…so bad, so good.
“Pause,” he said. But all I want is to rewind, replay, and then fast forward. We can’t be.
Back home I buy myself time with friends and lovers. I run baths to understand. I reach out, only to be met with controlled hollowness.
“I love you. Go back in time for me.”