Saturday, January 17, 2009


It feels like its been a lifetime since I last saw him, last spoke to him. Is it really only January 17th? The below freezing temperatures tell me it must still be winter, maybe winter of next year? Time couldn't possibly have passed that quickly, but could it really only be three weeks? Time is playing a cruel joke on me, dragging on this way.

The weekend before he left, we got our first real snow of the winter. It was a Friday and my bosses decided to move our office holiday party to an earlier luncheon so we could all get home before the storm had time to wreak its full force of havoc. I tapped my foot impatiently under the table, trying to endure the painfully awkward conversation. It seemed to last for an eternity.

By the time we left the roads were already slick with slushy ice. It was all I could do not to fall, my black leather boots were not made for snow. Resisting the urge to run, I made my way with a coworker through the precarious sidewalks to the train. I lied when he asked me if I was going downtown.

"I have to pick up some things that I left at the old apartment." Really, I was going to spend the night. I knew my coworker wouldn't approve.

When I got uptown I had to have him buzz me in--I had already returned my set of keys. The dog nearly knocked me down out of excitement, I hadn't seen her since the day I moved out. As I glanced around the apartment, it looked precisely the way it had the day we moved in--boxes piled high around the periphery of the living room, the carpets rolled up leaving the wooden floor barren, the bookshelf empty of its contents. For a moment it was easy to believe that this was day one, we were beginning our life together, not the last time I would sleep in that apartment, not the last time we would be whole.

As the snow began again to drift slowly to the earth we decided to take advantage of the last few moments of daylight and put the leash on the dog to go outside to play.

The park was empty, the fresh snow completely undisturbed. The streetlamps had already come on and were throwing orange shadows across the white blanket. We walked in silence as the Elliott bounded back and forth, snapping at the snow with her teeth, jubilant at the freedom we were momentarily granting her by letting go of her leash.

I broke the silence by launching a snowball directly at his head. He dodged it by jumping back and it broke across his thigh. We noisily darted throughout the park, hurling snowballs at each other, laughing at the dog as she tried desperately to jump to catch them in her mouth.

It was so easy to be with him like that. It felt so right, so complete. It made it impossible to remember why I was now living in Brooklyn, why he was moving back to Atlanta.

He told me late that Sunday night, after I had returned to Brooklyn and he was safely away from my wrath, that his parents were to drive up the next afternoon, to pick him up and take him back to Atlanta. He asked me to have dinner with them that night.

I had debated with myself all day, the inside of my mind resembled a battlefield, bodies strewn about, dismembered and ragged. The side of me that lacks the gene for self preservation had won out to that point, and I resolved to make the trek uptown to dine with my once would be family. I am a glutton for torture.

I called him on my way to the train, when he didn't answer I wavered in my resolve. He called me back nearly immediately, but it was long enough to go over the list of reasons in my head why I shouldn't meet him. I told him to call me when he was done running about with his family, already resigned to going home to sulk in my loneliness. Really, I couldn't bear saying goodbye to just him, let alone him and his parents at once. The thought was unendurable.

When he called, I made an excuse not to go. He offered instead to come to me once they were done, weak as ever, I accepted. I sobbed on my bed when we hung up, for once not caring if my roommate heard.

I clung to him that night, never letting our contact break for even a moment, savoring his scent, the heat that rolled off his smooth skin. I barely slept, drifting in and out of consciousness, content to just be in the crook of his arm, the place I felt safe, terrified that the night would end too soon and he would leave. Leave this apartment. Leave New York. Leave me. Forever.

What a cruel joke time plays. The moments of pleasure and tranquility pass with the blink of an eye. The days of numbness last a boundless eternity. The nights of anguish, never ending.

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