The first time I saw an adult penis I was so afraid, as soon as I got home, I googled “penises” to see if it was normal looking. It was.
I take solace in the idea that even though it may feel like “the end”, it’s not the end because no one can ever really know when “the end” will truly be, when our final interaction will be, when the end will come.
Our perception of relationships with clear ends and beginnings is a perception.
It’s not that we’re not over: it’s that life is fuzzy, our interpretations more finite.
I look at photos of us often. Unabashedly, I don’t try to stop myself. I think it makes me happy, looking at us, holding each other, smiling in the sun, on top of mountains, surrounded by green.
It reminds me of your face and body. That you’re a person with a beard, and you exist. That you’re not just some concept, a thing everyone in my life is nervously watching me for signs for, expecting me to mourn.
You’re a person, I think. I think you’re real. Every so often I get lucky, and I catch a glimpse of you inside a photo. Your voice or laughter or mind or gait peaks through, and I remember who you are, at the other side of an emptied, blank text thread. Something swings out of my gut, reaching out to the sadness, trying to connect and place itself.
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.
He only posts on Snapchat when he’s lonely. When he’s trying to entertain himself, stay busy, find meaning, find a connection: a beautiful flower worth sharing, a baked food that filled three hours of Sunday, a bird in the park: craving a little more, a little more connection, filling time, but not filled out, searching for meaning, flipping the page in the calendar I gave him to reveal a new pic, he only posts on Snapchat when he’s lonely.
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 They clearly don’t know we’re no longer together; I no longer represent you.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.
“I don’t know who you’re with these days, might be with someone new
And if you are, I hope he treats you like a lover ought to do.
But whoever makes you happy, it don’t really matter who
I’ve got a new lover now, I hope you’ve got a lover too.”
Your favorite songs fill my home as I try to make my lonely home sound more like your home that felt like my home, too. My friends tell me that I’m allowed to follow you through your online music collection, that that’s the problem they had when they broke up, too, that you’re a good person to follow for music, so I’m allowed to follow your music. I try to make my home sound like your home, so I can feel at home, and I wonder if you have a lover, and I imagine you wish a new lover upon me, but I can’t wish you have a lover, too.
“I hope you’ve got a lover, too,” the speaker repeats: it sounds like you’re singing directly to me.
It reminds me of the silly time I called you my lover because I didn’t yet have my license to use the word I wanted to use. We’d spent the last three months planning how we could open up our lives to spend time together, and we were just beginning to really date. I was exclusively with you; you were exclusively with me.
I had a group invitation to address; I didn’t know what to call you; I knew what I wasn’t allowed to call you. I said, “Hello friends and lover!” because you were indisputably my lover, and everyone laughed, some uncomfortably.
Fifteen months later, your younger brother asked you for a recommendation for a restaurant to celebrate his anniversary. When I asked you if we had an anniversary, you said, “I remember a particular occasion, being called ‘lover,’ so I know that the date is past July.” You were my lover then, but you weren’t just my lover then to me.
I don’t want another lover.