We both had been here before.
In my car, at night, outside her apartment.
So many times before, but this time it was different. There was potential this was going to be the last.
“I can’t see you knowing that he’s still hurting so much, I can’t give you everything I have, and it’s unfair to you, because I know you’re giving me everything you have.” She said. Her eyes down, away from mine.
A knot formed in my stomach.
“Don’t act like you’re doing me any favors. This is about you and your guilty conscious,” I said.
“Please, just get out of my car.”
She looked at me. We leaned in and we kissed. Held for a moment, pressed together, until it was enough, our lips clicked.
She reached into her purse and handed me a folded piece of paper.
She got out and walked into her apartment.
I first saw her months and months ago at a coffee shop. She was studying, I noticed her textbook for an Italian class. I smiled in passing. She smiled back. I thought about her for a moment, I almost turned back, I didn’t — momentarily left with the regret of a missed chance.
But then later that night, out with friends, there she was at the bar, drinking some hard cider. With alcohol running through me, I approached her with ease. I mentioned how I had seen her. She remembered. I told her how I had failed Spanish twice, but was willing to help her with the Italian. She laughed and said…
I got her name. Added her on social media the next day.
I could see her ex-boyfriend in her recent pictures. His hair parted to the side, more facial hair than me, taller, but there was a dim light in his eyes of stupidity. I wasn’t going to be intimidated. I scrolled back further, I did the math. They had been together for at least two years. What was I up against? A lot.
I messaged her and told her how I’d like to take her out. She seemed responsive and willing.
It was seemingly easy.
Then after some sushi, and a walk through the park, we began to kiss.
“This doesn’t feel like a first date,” She said.
I agreed. And then when I took her home, back to her apartment, she asked me to come upstairs and I did.
The next morning, she poured us some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. She had to get rid of the two day expired milk. I told her I didn’t mind. It tasted fine. She agreed.
After the cereal, we showered together.
“Do you mind if I turn off the lights?” She asked.
We showered in the dark. The sunlight from the cracked door, coming from her open shades, formed a silhouette around her naked body. She pushed shampoo out of her wet hair and I watched as the suds ran down her back. I pulled her in, her skin soft and clean. I kissed her neck and I could feel her face stretch into a smile.
But even then, her body was withholding. It was tense. And when she turned and looked up at me, it wasn’t for her sake, but for mine. As if she was small, helpless, hoping for my admission to tell her how happy I was. She was there to please. To fulfill a void.
“You know what we should do?” She said one morning as I sipped my coffee.
“There’s a poetry class, the library offers once a month. Would you wanna go?”
“That’s your best idea yet,” I said.
I wash my mouth with water
In the morning I’ll tell them how you tasted.
They’ll ask for details and I’ll smile.
Like a peach, sweet, and soft on my cheeks.
how could I ever tell them anymore
like a rose dipped in sugar
the sweetness that covers your skin
left with only the aroma after you’re gone
awaiting the moment till I see you again
“Do you like it?” I asked. She beamed a smile.
“What did you write?”
“Mines not ready yet,” She bashfully replied.
“Well when it is, I want to read it.”
When you go back on it all
that’s when you turn to glass
the memories and regrets
weigh on you
crack and everything changes
you’re a different person now
a different reflection
but more breakable
Sometimes I’ll go back and find her online. That ex boyfriend isn’t her ex anymore. There’s photos after photos. Heart emojis fill the captions. They share their moments with the world.
I’ll read her poem, in between the lines, it says so much. I think back to the poetry class and ask myself if that’s when I lost her.
That’s when she knew she had to turn back. She had a void I couldn’t fulfill.
I write fiction.