This wasn’t it

We met before,

I swear, perhaps long before the 2 am drives to get a pack of cigarettes and sneaky, short kisses whenever we caught a red light and I was checking my work email;

Long before that April afternoon when your palm was sweating, I know because I was holding your hand, and it’s summer, and we’re outside a restaurant waiting for our table, and you whispered in my ear as I kept staring at the menu in my other hand:

“If we ever don’t end up together, please know it wasn’t your fault.”

Suddenly my palm was sweating, not because it was summer, but because I wanted to scream and hurt the lady sitting one or two or three seats from me waiting for a table for her and her kids. They ordered in advance; I overheard one of them say: “I wanted the cajun butter chicken breast,”

And, sir, I wanted to get out of here, but I realized I was more hungry than afraid of getting hurt, so I stayed there, in my seat, and said, however jokingly,

“I know it’s not going to be my fault,” not because I was faultless, but because I’ve already seen how this would end for me, and heard the many other reasons I would use to convince myself that this, whatever this is, wasn’t it – I would hear my own voice, and it doesn’t shake –

It’s one of the lies I would tell myself on nights when the cold was unbearable and I hope my palm was sweating instead and the daylight was blinding me,

But it’s after midnight in September, your one hand holding an umbrella over my head, the other holding a half-spent cigarette, smiling at me as if we’ve met before and we both just couldn’t remember, but your eyes, I swear, were telling me whatever we have is already it,

and it’s dark, so the street lamps didn’t help, but I couldn’t be sure.

Categorized as Personal

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