Saturday, October 29, 2022

Dear Jon

I lied, love
It's always you
From that first week
When you were beautiful words on a screen
(“I think," I said, embarrassed because I never get swept away, "I just met my husband")
To the last
When you were words again
A string of characters
Vulgar black on white
Inadequate binary
Yes or no
Good enough or not
Here or gone
Two banal colors
Concealing glorious heterochromia
Explosions of glittering prismatic hue
That bathed us in Portland
Where the vista of a whole life unfolded from your living room window
Where a panoply of treasure and trust billowed across the bed we shared
Where I teased you about the thermostat and enfolded you in my smooth skin
To warm you when you were cold
Where we laughed at the mess our loving made
"That table's ruined," you sighed
And I'd destroy it with you again and again and again
A thousand times over
Until I got perfect at the demolition
That bathed us in Baltimore
Where my grandmother said you had kind eyes
One of the last things she'll remember is that you made me happy
That bathed us in Virginia
Where the store clerk smiled because we gave her good vibes
Where my best friend took me by the elbow
With a sharp smile and knowing eyes
And whispered so you couldn't hear: "I like him"
That bathed us in Georgetown
Where fireworks and Prosecco and your kisses made a golden haze
My favorite 4th of July
Washington will always be ours
Sparkles on the river
Mimosas and smoked salmon
Train rides and hot days and gentle drunkenness
The first place you told me you loved me
By saying you couldn't say it
But that you felt it
So we came up with that ridiculous euphemism
A code word
That meant not just "love"
But OUR love
The love you bore for me and I for you
Silly and knowing and flexible
Stretching to account for my fears and yours
Pliant enough to absorb the sharp edges and render them soft
That bathed us in Christmas-morning snow
When you held a mirror to my doubt and showed me I could be wonderful without changing
The first inkling of my beautiful boyhood came from your mouth
Not mine
I love you for so much
But I love you especially for that
And for your laugh
The way it hitches in disbelief at me
For your mockery each and every time we go to the grocery store
Because I never know where I'm parked
For how you sputter at the mere suggestion of spicy food
For the absurdity that you're an Indian who can't eat curry
For our first date in a carwash
And our second in a candy aisle
For insisting I be treated well
Even when I didn’t
For when you used me as a thesaurus
For when I used you as a calculator
For when we dreamed of the desert
And then of the pines
And then of Vancouver
And then of Berlin
For Netflix nights
For scandalous asides
For the article you sent me---when I was already reading it, too
For knowing me so well you could guess my mind
Even a thousand miles away
For when you still missed me
And longed to see my face
For how you wept
When you read my Christmas card
For "Your presence makes me calm"
Because that was all I ever wanted to give you
For every answered phone call
For every returned text
For your hands dancing down my feet
And over my body
For your lips on mine
For the fierce hug at the airport
For, "Don't worry, Love. It's only eight weeks."
But then it was never.
For the tears you shed the first morning you woke up without me
Yours have dried
But mine just keep flowing
"You have to move on"
When so many say it
Mustn't it be true?
No white after Labor Day
Wait half a week before texting
Nobody can pull off bangs
Marble countertops are passé
Everybody knows
You certainly did
When you repeated their mantra:
"You have to move on"
So I told you I did
To give you that closure
And pretend I had it, too
It's the line I recite when people ask how I am
That we're better as friends
That I'm happy this way
"You have to move on"
So I told you I did
But moving on means letting go of hope
Not of you
Now hope is long gone
And it’s just you who lingers
I release everything else
Yet can never unclench my hands from your memory
"You have to move on"
So I told you I did
To acceptance of this absence
To peace with this ache
To the dating game
Where I look for the man who can be second best
A substitute for the only one I've ever loved
Pepsi Cola
Palatable if you don't think about it
Never the real thing
You promised I'd find someone right
But I already have
You promised he’s out there somewhere
But he lives in Portland
I’ve been in his apartment
I’ve counted the grey hairs in his glossy black mane
And the fears behind his crinkling dark eyes
And each time he was strong enough to overcome them
And the slowly ticking minutes
Since we began leaking away
And each bailout bucket
In succession they all overflowed
And the endless accumulated leagues
Since Mile Marker 21st of January
When he drifted beyond my soft touch
And each thudding second
Since the one when I knew I lost him
You asked me to believe
So I told you I would
"You have to move on"
So I told you I did
I lied, love
It's always you


kylie said...

Oh. How sad. It's always in the timing

Debby said...

Oh my dear. Hugs.

Debby said...

I've been thinking a lot about you. My heart breaks for you, but the one thing that I know for sure is that when you haven't got yourself quite figured out, relationships become a bit dicier. You are processing yourself right now. In the process of becoming. You're learning big things, your identy shifts with the lessons.

I swear this thing to you. Once all the paradigm shifts are complete, once the pieces fall into place, once you look at yourself and recognize yourself, what you see will be so beautiful you weep. And some place there is someone who will move into your path and they will see you and it will be so beautiful that you weep.

I promise you this.

Anonymous said...

It is very sad. I believe that this could be the right time to change your live. You should leave the Alaska- wilderness and move to a big city and push the reset button. Berlin could be the right place to find a new friend. The city is very international and the costs for rooms are still affordable. It should be easy to find a job in e.g. international schools where native speakers are highly appreciated. If you stay in this loneliness you will get sick.