You write this in the second person like giving yourself that little bit of distance will provide some perspective, will make it make sense.
You win some, you lose some. You never really noticed the winning, because it’s like when you clean the house. You know, when you really clean it, down on the hands and knees, scrubbing tile cleaning, and you think how nice it looks, and then you walk away and you don’t notice it anymore, because that’s how it’s supposed to look. It’s supposed to look clean, after all, not have dust in the corners. And, you figure, you’re supposed to be happy, to wake up in the morning just a little giddy because things are going your way at last. And that is why you don’t notice, because that is how it’s supposed to be. But when you lose, you notice right away. It’s hard not to pay attention once those just-a-little-giddy mornings are gone.
It’s over. You know this. You knew it before you would admit it to yourself and certainly before you’d admit it to anyone else. You knew it the moment you walked back through that airport terminal alone, when you got into that elevator in the parking garage and your fellow airport-parking-garage-elevator passengers politely avoided looking at you because you were in your own cinematic moment, a few tears streaming silent and unchecked down your cheeks while you stared ahead at the elevator doors. You felt yourself inside the scene, in one of those rare moments when life feels exactly like something out of a movie and you can pretend for a moment that the knot in your stomach isn’t there, or that it’s just as simple as stage fright, that it’s not because in that place where you know things (even though you’re never exactly sure how you know them) you know this is more goodbye than see you later. Every time you answer questions from your friends about your relationship, you feel a little embarrassed, because somehow you know it’s all going to fall apart and you’re going to wind up looking like some dumb lovestruck idiot who didn’t have a clue, but, you figure, at least you didn’t get matching tattoos.
Winter is sudden and bitter, a surprise like it always is. He is distant. There is this reason and that reason, one barrier after another. There is no money, and those phone bills are no joke. There is a problem. There is another problem. There is somebody who may overhear. So you pick up the slack, because you’re in a relationship, and you can’t have a relationship with someone you can’t talk to, after all. Things go wrong for you, too. Things that are difficult, things that are sad. You swallow them and listen instead when you get the chance. He is busy. He is not there. He says he loves you. He doesn’t pick up the phone.
You hang on.
And then he disappears. You find him. You ask if this means what you think it means. He says no. He explains. You believe him, and you believe that he believes himself. He disappears again. You ask him not to. He explains. He disappears again. You ask him not to. He disappears and disappears and you ask and ask and he stops explaining. You ask for an answer. You get silence in return. The silence is your answer, and you know it.
There is no reason, there is no goodbye. You wonder why, what happened. You invent reasons to pass the time: he was kidnapped by pirates, he is trapped under something heavy, he was attacked by ninjas, he has woken up alone in a hospital in Prague and he has amnesia. You go to bed at night and think about the way he rubs his feet together like a tuneless cricket when he’s falling asleep. You think of the way he used to look at you. You think of all the things he was going to do. Was going to. You think of all your known flaws, all the things you might’ve done wrong, and sleep underneath them like a stack of heavy blankets.
You wake up tired.
There is no goodbye, so you say your own to no one. Goodbye. It was lovely for awhile. Let’s never do this again. You pack up all the things he gave you and put them in a box that you will most likely never have the heart to ship. You remove his number from your phone so you won’t be tempted to try anymore, not that he would pick it up if he saw it was you anyway. You slowly start deleting your daydreams. You shrug and call him a coward. You ignore the fact that he didn’t want you to write about him on the internet, because it’s not like it matters anymore anyway. You will keep all of his secrets, except for the one that he ended up being the most afraid of: the one where he existed in your life.
You write this in the second person and it doesn’t make any more sense.