September 16, 2016

Is it Okay that I still Think of You?

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I sit here, over a year later, imagining the warmth of your embrace.

I can still feel you, even if only for an instant, before the memory slips through my grasp into the depths of the unknown.

You, and your simplicity, me with my analytical mind. I can vividly remember the way the corners of your mouth turned upward when you smiled, transforming your face and your innocent brown eyes. I can feel the softness of your lips brushing over my skin, I can feel the warmth of your breath.

I see you as if it were yesterday, sitting in the rocking chair on our porch, glass of sauvignon blanc in hand, throwing your head back in laughter, flooding the street with its rich sound, flooding every part of me with it too.

We didn’t meet in the traditional way, nor did we waste time with false pretenses. No superficial questions and answers. No false image portrayals to impress one another.

I got your text at 3:30 a.m. when I was closing up my bar—“What are you doing? Want to meet up?”—the bar where you ordered a Strongbow with a shot of Jameson earlier that night. I didn’t feel anything then, but I gave you my number anyway.

We decided to get a hotel—let’s be honest, a motel, a seedy one that was close by. We washed our feet in the tub before we got into bed, laughing at the absurdity of it all. I was intrigued by your lips from the moment they met mine, the way our bodies fit together and intertwined so perfectly without clumsiness or haste. I didn’t look away when when you looked into my eyes.

I woke in the morning just a few hours later to the sound of my alarm in a complete fog. Your arms were wrapped tightly around me from behind, the full length of your naked body pressed against me. On any other morning that began this way, I’d immediately feel uncomfortable, I’d want to move without making a sound—but I liked the way you felt next to me.

“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” ~ Warsan Shire

And you certainly felt sweeter.

A move to an island and a couple of years later, it ended as quickly as it began. No loose ends tied up. No closure. Nothing comfortable about it. It was not the way I wanted it to finish.

As time unfolds and heals, most of the normal frustrations and bitterness of a break-up have washed away, but I still think of you. I don’t long for you in the night or pine over you. I don’t even look at old pictures with feelings of longing. But I still think of you walking in the front door of our quaint apartment, greeting me with a smile and a kiss. I still think of cooking for you—I can smell the olive oil and garlic in the pan as you steal a mushroom.

So am I over you?

This silly question that society wants us to respond to with a black and white answer. This question that plagues me, even though I know it’s my conditioned mind asking.

But it is not black and white and it doesn’t have to be.

Even when we start to have feelings for someone else—even if we happen to go on a few dates soon after to distract ourselves—we don’t owe this answer or explanation to anyone.

On the days your memories pop into my consciousness I will continue to greet them with kindness; the same way we cherish the memories of our youth or the voice of a grandmother’s bedtime song.

So today, I think I will keep them for as long as they live on, until time bids them farewell. I will then let them go as swiftly as the breeze that brought them in.


Author: Cori Carlo

Image: oakenroad/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Cori Carlo