You must be a magician, because the way you would disappear
surprised me every time. I would wait there in your empty space,
waving my hands around, grasping for something tangible,
unbelieving that you would ever walk away on purpose.
This morning you finally text me after four weeks of silence.
but my fingers haven’t quite made their way back to respond.
There really isn’t much to say to “I’m eight weeks pregnant, it’s his,
I’m keeping it, I’m staying here, and I hope you understand.”
I can’t help but feel like maybe I’m the one who is crazy. Who really
believes that they met their soul mate at a summer camp when they were
nineteen years old? I am not angry with you. I have no intentions of staying
friends, but I don’t resent you for the way you treated me. That would
take far too much effort than I am willing to give to you right now.
I stood there, over and over, fielding problems, taking punches
and you kept throwing them my way, certain that I’d still be there
when the last one was thrown. You were right. I’ve paid dearly for it.
What you didn’t know is that I have kept a journal every single day
since late April, where I’d write to you – telling you my feelings
in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm you until I had you here in
front of me and could wrap you in my arms to ease your anxiety.
And that I have spent hours since you vanished making lists
of things that you should know when you moved to California.
The best places to get your oil changed. Neighborhoods that are
worth avoiding after dark. All of the best vegetarian restaurants
Los Angeles has to offer. I kept telling myself that if I held on
long enough, that you would come around. That when you finally
arrived you would see that someone out here really does love you,
and that California is a great place to make a home. What I didn’t know
was that you had already found that in the arms of a man-child
under strobe lights and false pretenses. Still, I am not broken.
After each ragged breath I remind myself that this does not change
who I am or what I am worth. That just because you didn’t know
what you found in me, doesn’t mean that the next woman
will make the same mistake. I tell myself again and again that
when she asks for my heart, I won’t give her an excuse, or a sad
story about the time that I let a stranger break it, but instead
I’ll give her my hand. I’ll tell her that hearts and hands are
closely connected and that every fingertip intertwined is a life line.
That the oxygen pumping from my heart to my fingers will always
circulate faster when she is around, and that if she wants proof she
needs only to look into my eyes. A place that you never dared to go.
Speaking of fingertips, mine have finally made their way back to my
phone. It wasn’t really news I appreciated getting via text, but we were
far past common courtesy. I type out “Good luck.” It feels so impersonal.
I delete it and try again. “The thing I don’t understand is how you didn’t care
enough to tell me four weeks ago so I could move on.” That doesn’t feel right
either. Slowly, I type “I understand. I wish you all the best in your future,
and I hope that you have found in them everything that you were looking for.”
I hesitate. I don’t want to send this. I don’t want to understand or wish you the
best, and I can’t imagine any world where he would ever be better for you than
I would have been. I erase the words. I sit my phone down on the desk, and
go back to work instead. Here, I can remember what to do with my hands.