I don’t mean to come across egotistical (although I suppose I am – just a little) when I ask these questions– but bear with me.
Have you thought about me? Lately, I mean. Wondered how I am? Had a look on my Instagram or asked our mutual friends how I’m going?
Because I have. I wonder how your sister is. I deleted you on Facebook because even though it’s been years since I last saw you, your face gets my heart racing. You’re even dreamier than you were at sixteen. I wonder if your girlfriend wished if she knew you then. She should. She missed some fantastic years. I wonder if she knows about me. But why would she? There’s no reason for her to. Has your mum asked about me? Mine asks about you as if we’re still friends. (‘I don’t know mum, I think he’s in Paris.’)
I wonder if you’ve reflected on that day at the beach when I asked you why you wanted to be a lawyer. You said it was because of the money. You sounded like such an idiot, and I remember my heart dropping as you said it. You said you wanted to win every case. Who wants to lose? You were so conscious of your reputation before you’d even started your final year of high school.
I was still unsure back then. I wrote every day but thought teaching was my calling. My interest in the environment was growing, too. Your certainty scared me, and I talked down on my abilities and talents, laughing off my love for the arts.
When we broke up, you used your commitment to education and success as an excuse. As though I wasn’t committed to my future. To my life. To our life. Together. Because that’s what it felt like. Like we were going to last. Our mums and sisters spoke about our wedding and being bridesmaids and our life together as though it was a given we would make it through and do everything side-by-side.
It’s been over four years since we broke up and most days I’ll still think about you. I don’t miss you, it’s just habit now. There are still songs and jokes and parts of town that bring your memory with them.
You loved my writing. You were always vocal about that.
What would you say now? Do you know? Do you know words are my job? People reach out to me to praise me or to ask to publish my poetry or essays – and sometimes my sketches. You used to laugh at my drawings. Do you know that I haven’t been knocked back? I haven’t lost a case. My reputation is still in tact.
I wonder if you know – let alone care.
I wonder if your girlfriend satisfies you. Does she love you so much it hurts? Does she bend at the knees to lift you up? To please you? Does she write love poems about you – ones that are printed on paper for the world to see? Is she kind? Compassionate? Does she care?
I’m not sure that I care.
Could you have kept up? I’ve changed. I’ve got holes in my ears and have scars from old ones. My left arm is stained with ink. I’ve travelled continents and have citizenship in more places than one. I have new friends – ones that remind me how big the world is and how small my problems are. We never got drunk together or went dancing together. There are four children you haven’t met. I had a habit (for a month) where I’d catch a plane after an argument. I prefer to stay now. A row on my bookshelf is dedicated to religion. I don’t talk down on my art and my talent, and I bite back to those who do. I have a sharper tongue but I’m more honest. I still cut my hair when I’m bored and I still bite my nails and I still cry most days.
I walk through the streets on your side of town and imagine bumping into you. Would we make eye contact, then look away quickly? Smile? Talk? What if we fell in love again? I think it would be as easy as slipping back into my favourite winter jumper again.
I ate dark chocolate last night and imagined you sneezing.
I hope you’re happy.