Promise

Promise

There is one day, one part of one day with you that my brain won’t let go. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because we were breaking the law, just a little, or maybe it was because it was just us.

We drank vodka and Red Bull facing the street in that plaza where homeless people sleep and play chess. We were meeting up before a party, which wasn’t really a party, but just our lives on a Wednesday. You were wearing a lot of denim, I think, and it’s really not fair how sprung on you I was.

I bet you don’t remember. There’s no reason for you to remember. I can’t think of what we talked about, or even why we stopped there to drink. But in that moment it really felt like you were my boyfriend, and not just the straight philosophy dilettante our friends all warned me about.

They did warn me. They said you didn’t mean it, they said they were worried. I said I was fine, that I could handle it. For the whole stupid life of me, I don’t know what I thought I was going to handle.

Do you remember the moon? Do you remember the moon on that Halloween night when you said we should make a go at it? When you took my hand, and then you told me to stop rubbing your palm, because I could just be? I remember exactly the skim-milk look of it behind the webbed clouds, even though I can’t remember why I was sad to begin with.

I figured something out when I was with you. It was going to come in a big black book that I was going to fill up with all the other things I figured out when I was with you. It was going to crack love open, and stitch it back together better than before. It was going to make you see the good in me.

I am afraid of being frivolous. I know that I am serious and smart, but this often isn’t fun. That’s probably why kids like us grow up to be people who drink whiskey and scream. You asking me out was like someone seeing my serious side. Because I was 22 and validation is sexy.

You were too real for me to handle back then. That’s on me. I mean, it’s on you that you don’t know how to relate to people, but it’s on me that I took you so seriously. All I knew is you smelled good, like a sweaty leather pine forest, and I felt like you had set me apart from all the other rabble.

Do you see that I didn’t understand what you meant about destroying the ego back then? I thought all you straight boys were all just on some Eastern trip you didn’t understand to get pussy and look smart and get more pussy. I guess jury’s still out, but I’m starting to get it about my ego. That it isn’t all I have. That I don’t have to cling to things, and that clinging to them won’t make them stay.

The good thing is that these old memories start crumbling under hand when I take them out again. It’s not like I need them. It’s sad that I still think about this, or that’s what a women’s magazine would say. I guess it doesn’t start being sad until you realize it, though. And then you get to choose. I get to choose. I guess what I’m saying is it doesn’t matter that I cried for half an hour on my porch when you broke up with me because I’m the only one who even knows that. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t have to think about drinking in the plaza or that acid trip we never took, because I was the only one who cared, and I don’t anymore.

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