You call to see how I’m doing, and ask to meet me at our usual place. I long to see you, to feel your soft stubble on my cheeks, but decline. You coax and persuade. I yield, as expected. But I don’t want to. We have been down this path before.
I think of you during the day, while projects and goals fall by the wayside. And as I raise my glass to welcome yet another drunken evening, my mind wonders where you are, and if you could be thinking of me. Life goes on with a veneer of normalcy that only I see cracked and ruined. I want to blame you, but this one is all on me.
As I park my car, I spot you, awkwardly leaning on your truck, like a delivery-man desperate to be somewhere else. My knees shake, I can’t breathe. I try to regain my composure, but feel foolish. You wave hello, I wave back, strangely happy. We chit-chat for a while and off we go into the not so rosy sunset.
When we finally say good-bye, you seem relieved. I feel empty and lost. You offer one last hug, meant to make things better, but your skin sears mine – I let go quickly, and you ask if I‘m OK. “Yes” – I lie.
You say I feel warm, might have a fever. But I know it’s just the me that you knew, dying.