I’m at MercBar, sitting exactly where you sat the last time we were here, except now you’re across from me in streets, towns, cities, countries, continents. Across the world with someone else, eating authentic foods with your hands, slurping noodles, sitting on floors, riding in buses. We were here. I was across from you talking to Tali on her birthday. You were across from me, near the window, talking with new friends, listening to their story. They’d been apart for a year. When you heard about their circumstances, you touched me and said, Ya see? One year is nothing. You’ll visit. Yes, I said, I will. But I didn’t.
Now, a year later, I’m sitting here in MercBar, on your stool, speaking to strangers. I’m here alone. No. My friends are over there, across the way. I came here to be alone, in this corner of ours, even though nothing is ours anymore. Even our memories are mine because you can’t share the way you remember. The strangers are asking me if I’ve heard of Sex & The City, say I look like Carrie Bradshaw. What? I ask as if I’ve never heard the name. Who?
It feels like yesterday, but it was last year, being here with you, hearing you tell your less than new strangers, Yeah, I’m traveling the world for a year. But we’ll visit. You thought it could work. Us. Like that. But you had to know it couldn’t, had to know I couldn’t experience new without someone else to share it with me. When I told you so, you said you knew it would come to this, knew I couldn’t. You chose. I chose.
The next time we went out together, when we were alone and not surrounded by couples who didn’t know what a key party was, we walked home thirty blocks. I was wearing thumb-thong flip-flops; my feet blistered. I was wearing all white. We said our goodbyes on the street. You left me at my door. I couldn’t believe it was over. I cried on the street, moved down the block and sat on brownstone steps, crying into my phone, into Smelly’s ear. How could he? Does he really love me if he can leave like this? I did but didn’t understand. I still wouldn’t have chosen the way you did, but you couldn’t have felt as I did. Because even our feelings aren’t ours.
I realize now you were honoring your spirit, and I hate that honor and spirit crap, but you were following what you knew you had to, right? No, you said, this wasn’t some dream of yours. I just planned all this before you, you said. Plans can be rearranged, but you chose to keep to yours. If you’d felt as I did, you’d never have gone, never have let me have the opportunity to be here, sitting here, where you sat, on the stool against the curtain, the one that kept us together, joined us in more than words, between friends, across the street from where we met.