I should have been in bed an hour ago, and though I’m tired, I can’t commit to shutting myself down for the day.
So much has happened in such a short amount of time, and so much continues to happen. Such is life, I guess.
Such is life.
Such is life that he would show up to John’s tonight and tell me that he’d driven to multiple Trader Joe’s looking to find me after we last saw each other. Such is life that he is married now, and that a part of me still pines for him in a way that is unlike any other. I think of him in a soft light.
He greets me with a hug, and I am confronted with all the roads I didn’t take, and the love I don’t get to know. I think to myself, “in another world, we did it right, and we were better for it.”
His voice usually follows that thought with, “but we were better for it in this one.”
I feel it all crashing into me. The life we paint together in those brief moments of embrace-
In an instant, it’s over. We let go. We are, once again, two separate beings crossing paths.
I make a quiet joke, and he looks at me for a few seconds too long.
"It is really… really good to see you, Kevi."
I wonder why he was looking for me, and what would have happened if he had found me.
I don’t know, and he didn’t.
I suppose we’re better for it, aren’t we?
Aren’t we always?
I don’t know, but I’ll say it.
To sleep and to dream and to be alive- what’s the difference?
When I was a hopeless, paltry child, I broke a man’s heart.
I had never broken one before, and would not realize I had done so for a very long time.
Sometimes foolish children get caught up in their ego, and they trip, and they fall on their face. Sometimes they break bones, and are forced to look at their ugly bodies in the mirror for the rest of their life-
and sometimes they heal, but sometimes they don’t.
Well-dressed, well-spoken, well-mannered. He drove a beautiful car, and said beautiful things; spitting out quips faster than I could catch them.
He walked straight out of 1952. Kerouac reincarnate with some heavy innocence peppered in. He seemed so much older than me, but the difference was only about 6-7 years.
I wore dresses and two braids in my hair, and he would always greet me with at least a few bottles of Red Bicyclette (which was not particularly good wine, but we liked pretending we were french while we drank it).
Every night I saw him. Every night was an adventure. Every night I was in love with life.
I did not realize then that what I had found was a profound love. I had found a man who made my life a beautiful adventure, and who loved me.
On the night that I broke his heart, he sat down beside me, and asked me what he was to me. It was a warm night, but the color had drained from my face. I held his hand for a long time before I told him he was my friend- “my sweet friend, Forrest.”
I received a letter from him that month, which was not unusual. He sent me letters fairly often, and they were always long, and sometimes a little funny. He told me he was going out of the country, and that he understood that I did not feel about him the way that he felt about me. He hoped that things would change, but he was not upset with me.
I did not hear from him anymore.
As I wasted time on boring men, and crumby lovers, he reunited with his highschool girlfriend, married her and moved to Korea. She’s his equal- classy, brilliant, beautiful, funny, talented.
It wasn’t until I ran into him a few nights ago that I realized what I’d done, and what I’d failed to recognize.
He introduced me to his wife, who had little to say to me.
We stood in a circle with a few mutual friends. As they were exchanging stories, I lifted my head to find him studying me. My hair in braids. I smiled at him, genuinely and with a hint of defeat.
I was trying to win something when I met him. I was working angles with other men, looking for what I thought was a profound, earth-shattering kind of love, but was actually just an inflation of ego.
When he hugged me goodbye, he whispered, “Goodbye Kevi, it was such a pleasure to see you.”
I remembered then the night that we broke into the japanese garden. We drank white wine on the koi pond bridge, and reenacted dance sequences from a Bollywood movie we watched earlier that week.
Then my heart broke over a love I never knew I had;
and then it broke a thousand times more for all of the time in between.