I thought I saw you yesterday, your colors flying around you, on the corner of Hawthorne and Chavez.
You were always so colorful.
My heart pounded like the hooves of a thousand war horses as I struggled to navigate my way to find you in crowds. Was that your family you were with? How beautiful, and how bittersweet.
You know, I always thought that would be me with you—with our children—laughing and loving and having fun.
It was the arresting timbre of your voice that spun me into a thousand memories, both real and make-believe. I’d know your voice anywhere, it’s true. It’s the way your mouth anchors the consonants, you know? The Ts and Ks, and the way my name sounds on your lips.
Hello, my love, how kind of you to visit me in my imaginings again. We’ve met here many times, haven’t we, over these last many years? “Over these past many lifetimes,” you would correct.
There are so many things I’ve wanted to say to you.
Do you remember how I knew I would know you you the moment I saw your face in a photograph? I did, I just knew. Not the way love at first sight occurs, but the way your soul recognizes another perhaps over lifetimes. A knowing. A trust.
It’s always going to be you, isn’t it?
I wonder if you would see me through my age and my scars? Would you wince at the way I keep the girl you once knew hidden away for her own safety, or would you run your fingers over my jagged edges and look through me to where that girl hides, and tell her that it’s okay to come out; that you had been waiting for her? She always trusted you. She might show herself again. For you.
Would I still be beautiful to you? And would your eyes, those eyes that could always look right into me, into the deepest parts of me, the part where my soul lives; and where you looked when you recognized a stranger all those years ago? You looked at me as though we had known each other over the span of eons. Would those eyes see my soul again? Those eyes that quenched my deepest thirst.
God, the way you looked at me. It should have been illegal. It made me want your hands and your mouth on me. On all of me. Slowly and deliberately as if we had ages to explore each other. I could tell you how it made the heat rise in me, and set fire to the bedsheets and curtains until it burned all of my walls down to nothing more than smoking embers.
I’ll admit that I’ve allowed myself the indulgences of a beautiful daydream. You know the one—where we meet again and we both say the things that we’ve kept deep in our hearts all these years. Things I’ve imagined you saying to me hundreds of times, and things that I’ve imagined saying to you hundreds of thousands of times.
I wonder if you would sing to me those songs that were always only mine? Would you tell me about the song that you always imagined playing at our wedding? Would you tell me how you looked for me in all the others, and how you never could find that same magic in another? Would you listen as I echoed those words back to you?
Sometimes, in the hollows of a soft night bent on longing, my mind takes me back to a place where I was enraptured in your perfect love. Where two lovers have never been closer, and where I gave you the the piece of me that could only be given to one man.
I wonder if you would read me the way you used to. Would you hear the words that catch in my throat, the ones that I cannot give a voice to? “You are mine to read. Because that is me inside you; you inside me,” you once said.
Did you know that every time we crossed paths in years gone by, I was compelled to unbind my hands and burn everything down to rebuild a life with you? You wanted them all to know your name, and baby, they did. They still do.
I heard somewhere that you had married. More than once even. Did you know that I never could?
I remember thinking that you would never be truly happy unless I was your wife. Silly, I know, but it’s my truth nonetheless. Do you know how many lovers tried to take your place? Or how unnerving it was for them to know that you couldn’t be moved?
Do you know that those times we talked throughout the years, I was so taken by your passion and creativity that it sparked those very same things in me, and I just wanted to stay warm in your sunshine. We would speak through music.
“It’s the words and where they are placed,” you would say. “Baby, our love is different,” you would say. And I would agree. “A love to last the ages. Iconic. June and Johnny Cash, baby.”
If I could talk to you today, might you say that you’ve been thinking about me for 30 years, and that you were back to take what was always only yours?
Maybe you would invite me over on Sunday to catch up, and you would promise laughter and fun, and we would drink tequila, because you remember that wine gives me headaches. And you would give me you in ways that have faded and I would give you me in ways that are crystal clear. We will love through all space and time and all the tiny spaces in between. Like we were always meant to.
Sometimes when my mind is quiet, I sit and remember, and some days those memories still knock the wind out of me. Did you know that I can’t listen to some songs without being transported right back to those moments with you? A river of wine couldn’t intoxicate me the way you did. What a drug it was to touch you. To feel you. Dear God, to kiss you.
Would you take me there? Would you go with me back to that moment when you were the only one, and I was only yours? Would you remember with the renewal of spring?
I’m all too aware that I am the sun and you are the moon and only once every so often, on the solar eclipse, do we get to kiss once more, before you’re gone again. And I am left mourning you. That’s always how it’s been for us, isn’t it? Mourning clothes and funeral dirges?
Maybe it was never real. Not to you. Not the way it was to me. Perhaps I am a deep-end-of-the-ocean-Sylvia-Plath kind of crazy. “That’s a you problem,” you would say.
And you would be right. How are you always right?
I stood there that warm afternoon, on that busy street, in the sunshine and gentle breeze, unable to move. Waiting. Wondering. Dying. Breathing for the first time since the last time I saw you. I lost you in this new crowd.
I should accept fate and fable and that I may never truly know you again. I may never feel your magic again. Lost in the time it took my eyes to adjust to the bright light of your sun.
Long live all the magic that we’ve made. Whether it was real or make-believe.