To The Boyfriend I Almost Moved In With

I think about you every morning.

Every morning when I start my car and the sky is pitch black and the air is cold and harsh in my lungs. I wonder what you’re thinking. If you roll over in your bed and look at the clock, 5AM, and immediately think of me, wonder if I’m getting ready to work, if I’m missing you.

I imagine the sleep creases under your eyes from the pillow being pressed against your cheek. I imagine your hair falling in your face. I imagine the glow from the TV softly lighting your shadowed bedroom.

I wonder if you wake in the middle of the night and reach for me. If then you drift awake with the emptiness and try to close your eyes but keep seeing my face.

I wonder if you roll over and push the thought of us out of your mind. I wonder if you’re lonely.

I think about you when I go back into my house, when the warmth covers my body and I scuff my shoes on the rug to keep my feet dry. There are ten pairs of shoes lined by the door, girl shoes and guy shoes. The shoes of the boys my roommates’ have over are resting where yours used to be.

I think about you as I brush my teeth and remember where your brush used to be, in a mason jar by the sink, and your towel on the rack next to mine. I wonder if there’s still that empty bottle of my wine on your shelf, my mascara in your bathroom closet, that blue towel hanging on the back of your door.

I wonder if you miss my cold feet touching yours in the dark, my fingertips brushing your spine.

You were the boy I almost moved in with. We held each other in the dark and talked about our futures as if we could map them by tracing the lines in our palms. We made plans that hung in the air like stars—beautiful and distant, tiny and burning.

As I put on my clothes and gather my things, as I pull my jacket over my shoulders and brace the cold walking to my car, I wonder how we could have been there, just months ago, planning to rearrange our lives to fit one another’s. And how we act like strangers now. Navigating streets and friends and days like ghosts, flitting and silent.

I wonder if you look at yourself in the mirror and see me next to you. See my pulling my hair back, leaning on the edge of the window sill to gauge the weather, or staring back at you, swirling mouthwash and humming. I wonder if you think about our lives and how they could have been tangled. But how they unraveled. How they, like the stars we’d wished on, slowly burnt out.

Photo credit: Zachary Staines

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