The Absence and the Heart

I'm in Prospect Park at the Celebrate Brooklyn! concert. I'm walking out, and in front of me is a girl with a bob haircut.

She's a lot skinnier than you. She doesn't sound like you. But every time I look at her, I'm sure she'll turn around and it'll be you. Years have changed you... you met someone new and you've been dating him for some time now. He makes you happy.

But she doesn't turn around to say anything to me because, well, she's not you. But I start following her around.

I'm entertaining the fantasy that she is you, and I get that feeling. That feeling that comes from being so close to you I can almost smell your hair, which has almost no smell at all. I haven't been this close to you in what seems now like months, years. And after all this time being so close to you captivates me all over again. I'm flooded by memories of feelings, emotions, sensations, and they all remind me how easy it was to be hopelessly (or as you called it, hopefully) in love with you. How easy it is.

Hopeless is absolutely the right word. Through all the anger, the sadness, the frustration, and a sense of loss and being lost... at the end of the day I'm reminded that no matter what the reason, I was still thinking about you all day. And when I wake up in the morning, I realize I haven't thought about you yet, which makes me think about you.

And I follow you around for blocks and blocks. You and your boyfriend and a couple other friends stop to get some pizza. I wait a few doors down from the place on the other side of the street smoking a cigarette. I can see you in the front window as you laugh. I invent the conversations and stories for myself so I don't feel in the dark.

You pay the check and walk back outside. It is still humid and still plenty warm. It reminds me of nights waking up in a sweat... we've been sleeping naked with each other and our bare skin has been pressed against each other. We're stuck to each other. I lift up my arm and the air graces the spot that was sweat-sealed to your breast. The air feels cool on the spot. I kiss the back of your head and go back to sleep.

And you and your friends have already crossed the street, already headed right for me and walked past. I wonder, was I staring? Did you notice? Did seeing me face-to-face again spark up the memories you thought you'd forgotten, the emotions you thought you'd left behind, the spark that distance made so easy for you to forget?

I continue to follow you through the streets of this neighborhood. I wonder if you live with this guy here... if you've moved in together, if you're in love. If the sex is good. How big his penis is compared to mine. Whether he is as talented with his tongue as I am. Whether he appreciates the variety of tastes your body produces. Whether he loves you. If he splits the bill with you at restaurants, if he pays for the rent himself.

You all file up the stairs to a door, and you're at the back of the line. As I am about to brush past you, you look to your left at me. You smile. I smile back.

It wasn't you after all.