I sat on the step alone tonight, my step, smoking. The last cigarette in the pack. The last one in the house, until I am a writer again. I knew where you were, but I didn’t dare call, not for lack of desperation, but to see if you would call me.
You never call me.
The dog-walkers look at me sideways because no one in this town smokes. I stare at the stray embers that have come to rest on my feet. The fireflies are here, finally. I thought the rain would never stop.
I listen for the phone and wonder if I could get up from the step if you did call. But I can’t, I’m too tired, I’m too old for this, but I’m too young to not try. I am cemented, thinking of the night as hot as this one when we could have been, if we hadn’t been so smart. If you hadn’t been so smart.
We have had our share of awkward mornings just the same, me hiding behind my bangs and you making small talk and smiling. You always smile at me. Had I kissed you that night, I am pretty sure you would have tasted like whiskey and Guinness. If I had kissed you.
I finally realized that you left me. No more e-mails in the morning about Qasim and feank wanting to get to know me better. No notes to try to convince me that Dave or Marvin were my soulmate. Fewer messages harrassing me to sign up for a paid membership as if my life depended on it.
It took me a long time to notice. So I logged in today and realized I had reached my limit on matches and that everyone on the list you made for me had given up the ghost and moved on.
eHarmony, I think you finally realized that I moved on.
It was nice while it lasted. Well, not exactly nice. But it was funny.
I can see us then. I will be smoking again (because I will be a writer again), and I fear you will be married, but the distance will have brought us closer despite our differences. We’ll sit on the front step in the neighborhood where I hope you’ll stay, me in my personal fog watching you with your beer as the sun sets. You, always with a beer. You will look at me too long, and I will shrug my shoulders and make a bad joke that you will pretend to like. Mash out cigarette on step; flick into street; look ahead; bite lip; there will be nothing new for you to see in me.
I’m not sure how, at this point, we will be in the habit of saying goodbye.
I will walk the ten blocks alone, even in the dusk and even though I will look behind me every dozen feet to see if you are still sitting there, watching me. I will smile and wave every time, but I’ll be faking it. I’ve learned that love is the saddest thing once we let ourselves get roped into it. If only we were stronger, if only we were harder, if only we didn’t care.
I will walk the ten blocks, I know where I am going even if we don’t know where we are.
You can’t rely on the old man’s money.
So it turns out you’re from two completely different spots on the socio-economic ladder, huh? And it figures, the way it works out you got the fuzzy end of the trust fund stick. It’s a tough time for our little economy, and it’s all too easy to fall into a dark pit of despair over your lack of cash monies.
It is best to make light of the situation whenever possible. Today I got a text from the baseball game, where a work function was providing food of the best kind: free. I responded, “I hope you lined your purse with tin foil!” I have to admit I had a good laugh. I got through parts of college with the help of clubs that fed their members. And I have little to no shame. No buffet is safe from me.
So try your best. Don’t let your eyes fall out of your face when you see how much he spent on that bottle of wine. Be honest if you can’t pick up the entire tab. But most of all, relax. If you can’t laugh about it, then the terrorists have won.
In the morning I heard you typing and opened one eye. It was the newspaper. Granted, it was online, because we’re young and can’t bear to leave bed if we can help it. But you were reading the news, and I thought my heart might be done. I closed my eye and rolled over and smiled and pretended to sleep, and I was pretty sure it was love.
Don’t change your hair for me (or him).
So you got a bitchin’ haircut two days before you met a bitchin’ guy? And you say he wants to know what you look like with longer/shorter/curlier/straighter hair?
Let him wonder.
Don’t turn yourself into anything for anyone unless it’s into something you’d want to be on your own.
I’m not saying, but I’m just saying.
I think I’m in love.
(At least, I think I’m in love with her eHarmony ad spoof.)