In the cafeteria

I used to dream about being dead. I’d watch you break down as you got the news. Beating yourself up for treating me poorly. Maybe scream a little and cry a lot. I obviously didn’t want to die, I just wanted you to think of me. Miss me. And dying felt like the only way to get that reaction from you.

This was before. Before I forgot. How fun we were together. How I walked out of the apartment after sleeping with you for the first time and having to take my sweater off, in March. Summer started between us, way before outside dinners and green trees. Our patterns sounded like poetry to me as I read them, finding calm in between our nights. And when you left I found I couldn’t read any more. Like a child I stuttered, fell on every letter.

We never had a beginning. Starting out halfway through the race because who needs a start when it’s this easy. Silly us didn’t realize that you always start, no matter where you start. And as we walked down Allen Street I got that empty feeling only the city can give you. I would’ve liked you to put your arm around my shoulders. But they froze naked in the 34 degree heat. We turned corners and there was supposed to be more, there should always be more.

Then that was it and I dreamed about being dead. But hold on, I told myself as I walked home one night and the trees were naked and the wind was cold for the first time. Things take time. Hold on. And just like they say time works, I recovered. I forgot and the wind became warm again.

A long time later I was sitting unprepared in a restaurant. Don’t turn around my friend said so I turned around. And there you were. A real person and everything. It shocked me. Years of not seeing you, talking to you, hiding from you on the subway had turned you into this thing I once knew. Something I had made up. I wonder if that is recovering, or if recovering just turns into another way of living? We never become the same after having a lover break us. Our heads just learn to live broken. And as I turned back around to my friends, without having waved or said hello, my body shut down. I walked out of there, quickly and irrationally, I ignored my head saying I was, indeed, acting like a thirteen year old in the school cafeteria.

Because love, I realised,
is something your body memorizes.
Even when your head forgets.