I thought we had said goodbye. Finally, goodbye. Yet here you are, and me seeming to fall back into old habits. Never have two people who have hated each other so much loved each other so much. You’re floating like a ghost through the walls of my memories. It seems long forgotten, you walking away, not looking back. It was the first time I saw you cry. Far away in a distant life we would lie next to each other in the bed we shared. Often it was as cold as a tomb heated by our desire and passion. Now it all seems so unreal. Almost unbelievable. I tell myself with every goodbye that it’s the last time I tell you goodbye.
It’s only coffee. I tell myself that it’s only coffee. Staring blankly at my half full cup I see your reflection on my spoon. I can’t smile, I don’t want to. I don’t want to be here with you. “I miss you” you tell me. I don’t say anything though. I know with you it’s all or nothing. I’m not here for you. I’m here because I know you’ve hit the bottom, and if you don’t talk to someone you’ll crash. For some reason it’s me, but I’ve made it clear. It’s over. I’ve moved on. “You look good. You’ve changed” you say. “We’re always changing” I say “Moving forward” You look at me for a few minutes and just reply “Yeah…”
As you reach to touch my hand I pull it away, and move my eyes up to meet yours. You’re biting your lips with that crooked smile. I can hear music playing in the background. I can’t place the song. I look back to my cup, and move my head to the side trying to place it. You assume I’m looking for words, and ask my what I’m thinking about. I gaze over your shoulder, and out of the window into the street. I don’t want to talk. I start thinking to myself that this was a bad idea. You don’t seem to really have anything that you need my help with.
You clear your throat and say “So, she makes you happy? Like, really happy? Forever happy?” I shake my head, and look at you. “Where is this going? Forever happy? Nothing is forever. Yes, I am happy. She makes me happy. More than I ever thought anyone could.” My words seem to sting you, and you sit back stunned. “Weren’t you ever happy with us?” you ask. “Happy? We always had fun, but would you guess I was happy? Think about it.” I snap. “I’m sorry, I am” I say. “I understand” you reply. “I miss you, your touch” you add. A few moments of silence creep in like a soft rain moving through a dense fog. I look up at you and say “Let me ask you something?” You just nod and smile. “Can you tell me one thing you remember about me? One thing? And not that I skate, what beer I like, or that I love tacos. Nothing on my blog, but anything personal you remember. Can you do that?”
You sit up straight, once again clear your throat, and lower your head. Your lips start to quiver as you speak. “Well” you start “I remember climbing the ladder into your window was always fun because it was like being a kid again. Having to sneak into your room at night, that was always fun. I remember sitting on the edge of your bed before I would wake you. I’d watch you sleep, and it was the only time you ever seemed really peaceful. Watching you breathe, your chest rising and falling. That soft whistle you picked up after breaking your jaw. I remember that. It’s when I fell in…” You stop yourself “I remember that.” You add and then you slowly move your soft blue eyes up to mine. “I remember that.” I pick up my cup, and swiftly drink the last bit of coffee in it. I wish it was whiskey. It might make this easier. It might make all of this make sense.
“Why are we here? The real reason?” I ask cautiously. “What’s your end game? You know I’m happy. You know that I’m never going to try to make anything work with you. I’m not trying to be mean, but we just can’t. We’re flammable together.” I say. “I know” you softly say “I know, I do. I really do…” Your voice shakes. “This was a mistake. I’m sorry. I just… I just wanted to see you. To see if you’re really happy and you are. I can tell. You seem at peace, like when you’re sleeping.” Once again silence creeps in, and you lean over grabbing your bag. Without speaking another word you swiftly stand. You take a half step towards me, and then stop. After a deep breath you step up, and leave a long soft kiss on my head. As you touch my face you say “I wish you’d shave that stupid beard off. You have such a pretty face. I hope she’s good to you. I lo….” You pause “Goodbye, Tanis. This time it’s goodbye.” You turn and walk out of the coffee shop, and out of my life. This time I honestly feel it’s forever.
As I watch you walk away I smile. Not because you’re leaving, or because you’ve said goodbye again. I smile because I remember the first time I saw you after returning home a divorced broken mess. You couldn’t believe it was me. It was one of the few times I ever thought you were excited to see me. Now as I watch you walk away again, once again not looking back, I smile to think of you. I don’t hate you, and you don’t hate me. That’s all that really matters.