It was two years ago that I started this job, the day I first saw you as well as your birthday. That's a lot to squeeze into twenty-four hours. I haven't talked you in six months, but letting the day just pass by unnoticed didn't seem right to me for some reason. So, I went out, got you a card and left it on your desk first thing in the morning. It read...
I thought for a long time,
about what to put here.
I wrote many drafts.
So many thoughts and feelings,
I wished to convey.
But none of them,
written by the hand,
of the stranger that I've become.
So I think instead,
I'll just keep it simple,
and tell you that I truly wish you the best.
Have a wonderful birthday,
but above all else,
no matter what,
don't ever change.
Still not quite sure what to put here,
You wrote me an email thanking me and told me it was very sweet. The conversation didn't really go far from there until a couple of hours later. You asked me how I liked my new place and we tip-toed around topics we wanted to delve into, but were too scared of the answers we might find.
I grabbed up enough courage to ask you if you were dating anyone and you told me that you weren't, because it wasn't high on your list of priorities at the moment. You never asked whether or not I was seeing anyone and that could be taken either way. Then, for some reason, I asked you out for lunch. You accepted and we made tentative plans for the upcoming Saturday.
You took the rest of the week off, so I didn't see or hear from you, not that I was really expecting to. Saturday came and I was running errands, watching the time until our rendezvous. I got the text message asking if we were still on and we decided on a place we used to frequent back when...well, you know.
I arrived first, as is usually the case, my mind still reeling because you didn't cancel. I look up in the rear view mirror just in time to see your car pass by, making a knot twist inside my stomach. Suddenly, I wished I had cancelled.
We unceremoniously meet at the door and are seated at our table in less than a minute. We place our order before I let myself look at you. Your hair was worn casually and you had on a white wife beater. I couldn't believe you were actually sitting across from me. It's so weird how things play out.
We make a little small talk, a lot of small, awkward silences and you don't look at me the whole time. Your eyes dart above my head, at the table, the screaming baby across the restaurant, anywhere but into mine. Again, this can be taken either way.
The food arrives and gives a little more reason for the silence. The whole time I'm not sure what I think or feel about everything. I had pictured a hundred thousand different ways a situation like this with you would go down, no sexual pun intended. This just wasn't one of them.
The waitress brings us the check and after it's paid we just kind of sit there. As always I'm not sure what you're thinking. I don't know if you want to spend more time together, or if you just want this little adventure over and done with. I hate how you always make me second guess myself and everything around me.
I open my mouth as all the words I rehearsed escape me. Instead of easing my way into it, I simply say, “I'm sorry things got weird between us.”
“It happens.” You shrug nonchalantly.
“Yeah, but it shouldn't. I've changed a lot, now.”
“I can tell.”
“The irony of it all is that this is the guy I should have been the whole time. It took losing you to become that.
“Usually how it works.”
“I was angry with you for a long time.”
“I could tell, but I never figured out why.”
“Because it was easier.”
“Easier than what.”
“Admitting the truth. It was easier than admitting I missed you, never got over you. I just didn't want to be hurt anymore and anger filled that gap quite nicely. I want you to know that I don't harbor any of those negative feelings anymore.”
“Good, then let's just move forward.”
“As acquaintances, friends is kind of a strong word.”
“Jesus, that's a little harsh.”
“Don't you think it'd be weird if we tried to be? Don't you think there'd be problems?”
I nod, “Yeah...probably.”
I tell you I don't want to keep you and I walk you to your car. We don't say a word as we hug and go our separate ways. The whole thing only lasted roughly thirty five minutes and it ended just like we did; bittersweet.
I think about all of it on the drive home. Everything from two years ago to now. You weren't the monster I made you out to be. All I ever saw was my side, I'm sure I was just as nasty from yours. This was the first time in a year I left you with my head held high and that's gotta count for something. I hope that if you aren't happy now, that you be. A part me is also sorry that I couldn't be the one that helped make it happen for you, but I know I'm not. For the first time I'm OK with that. It's time to move forward.