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She said, “I don’t remember saying that.”
When I remind her of the time she went
to New York and sent a message back to
Kansas replying only, “love you.”  On the
evening of Thanksgiving, months later, she
said, “I didn’t mean it, if I said at all.”  I
threw my phone into the hard tile floor of
my parent’s kitchen, in front of my best friend
and the woman he is now married to, the pair
who introduced us on New Year’s Eve.  I’m
still ashamed of how they saw me.  I met
another girl at a concert a summer later, I
overheard her say, “That guitarist is so cute I
gotta hug him.”  Noticing my likeness to the
man on stage, my cousin with a tongue never
bitten, said, “He’s right here.” And she hugged
me as if I were him.  At the end of the night,
she asked my name so she could write it down
somewhere.  The only suitable surface she found in
her purse was a Polaroid of her ex-boyfriend.  She
wrote it on his back, I said, “out with the old, in with
the new.”  We talked for hours after, we had a
picnic in 90 degree weather, we retreated to my
car to finish our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
There was a night in that summer where I grew
into a stranger I’ve never known, maybe that man
who threw the phone, maybe the grandfather I
never loved, exactly who this man was I haven’t
a clue, but she stopped calling, because somehow
he replaced me and only met her, my name on the
polaroid written by her hand.
  I sent my last letter
in September, I said, “I want to be the man you 
want, but if I’m only your friend, I’ll take it.”
She never spoke to me again, this letter is my thinnest
ghost.  For two years after the both of them, the girl
who never loved me, and the girl who never loved me
and would never say it, this mobile of splinter and
midnight turned so slowly in my chest.  I’ve strung
lightening through it since, I let every robin in my
mouth perch on its arms and shake it ‘til they sing.  It
turns and turns.  I dance with it when my feet want to least.
It does not sleep when I do.  I grow so tired these nights. 

Created: Jun 17, 2012


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