I was in town for just a couple days. It was dark and the road was shiny with wetness from an earlier rain. I was running between plans, cramming much into a couple days, trying not to be late to meet my boyfriend’s friends. It was a little east in the East Village, a little past where I usually find myself. The street was a little quieter, a little calmer than the ones engulfing it. You walked right up to me, also alone, eager to see me, like a dream, out of years of the abyss, I appeared. I saw me through your eyes, through the director’s eyes. You were eager to catch up, tell me about yourself, who you are today, on this night. You insisted we meet up later if I ended up going out. Last I heard, you were dating a supermarket heir and had developed a red head fetish.
It was good to see you out and alive. I worry about you a little less now.
And then you said goodbye and said the only words that would ever be enough for me. “Good night,” you said, you’d tried so many others. And then you hung up the phone, parting with the only end that would ever satisfy me.
There’s something so soothing about “good night,” something so comforting about acknowledgement of another day come and ended, another day closed and opened with well wishes. Someone else acknowledging that you live and breathe and now, sleep. Someone else doing it in sync with you. As you shut your eyes, your mind, your March 4th, you accept what’s past in the day behind you, let it rest and simmer, and prepare to take in the new.
Like the urge to announce your arrival after a long flight, it feels wrong to part ways with the day, without a human connection, without a hint or warning of any change in waking state.
It’s a beautiful end to a simple day. It’s my favorite end to any day. It’s my favorite words English has to offer. “Good night,” he wished me, and I had to accept, it is enough.
You didn’t know I loved those words. You didn’t know how beautiful they are to me, the way you said them with gravitas and meaning. I replay them forever. There’s days I interpret that gravitas to mean we’re meant to be together, there’s days I interpret that gravitas to mean we lived a perfect romantic tragedy. There’s such beauty in both.
I’ll be happy one day, with someone who’s not you
I’ll be happy that day, without wishing it was you
I won’t know it that day, when a drop of sadness hits you
But know that once I was sad I would be happy one day with someone who’s not you.
I’m happy you dumped me while the trees are flowering. I endure this sad time as the earth constantly begs me to smile. This line of fuscisa trees is so beautiful; I don’t remember there being so many flowering trees; you’d love it here. The sunshine brings out all the couples, walking where I run, holding hands.
Somebody asks me a question about you. I savor the opportunity to discuss your will and wants and plans. They clearly don’t know we’re no longer together; I no longer represent you. It feels so good to let out all this knowledge I have, wasting inside. My internal dialogue still debates with you, still plans everything I want to tell you, how I want to frame it, cherry picking the details you’ll find most interesting. All the scripts rot in my mind.
My overstuffed backpack presses on my shoulders, pushing down my upper body, leading my eyes to the ground. Bits of salad still lingering between my teeth, I dodge to the bathroom, confidently betting myself there’s at least five minutes until the final boarding call. Still, I move with urgency: I am commando, having forgotten to bring fresh underwear to lunchtime spin class. I can feel myself rubbing directly against my pants.
An oversized bicep nearly collides with my face: Looking up, I see a man using his other arm to jokingly smack his beaming girlfriend: she laughs. They glide across the airport.
We smiled like that in this terminal.
Even though we decided not to spend our lives together, we could make it together, right? If we were alone in this world, the final woman and man on earth, we’d enjoy each other, I’m sure of it. If we decided to be, we would be happy together, like the tall couple chooses to be, today, now.
Running, running, feeling free
Running, running, cry, breathe