my mother

Now, when I’m doing dishes, alone in the apartment, as the sun sets behind the gable roof across the street, I know I have become my mother.

And it terrifies me.

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come, stay

I walked out of the terminal, and you weren’t there.

I told you not to come. I told you there were delays. I said immigration was a mess. I said not to worry.

“I’ll take a cab home.”

You were never supposed to be there, but I thought you might be. Outside. I don’t know why. Wishful thinking.

The rain had just stopped. I could smell the petrichor. My clothes felt damp, despite being dry. I looked for an attendant. He’d call a taxi.

I waited. For the taxi, of course. But for you, as well. I kept seeing you in your maroon sweater, driving up in your gray beater, beckoning me in. The warmth of your hands, the touch of your lips, the smell of home. A chimera.

Why did I tell you not to come, if all I ever wanted was for you to be there? Outside. Waiting for me.

I told you not to come, so you didn’t come. I told you to leave, so you left.

I wish someone would come. I wish someone would stay.

from andrew sean greer’s less

“She told me she met the love of her life. You read poems about it, you hear stories about it, you hear Sicilians talk about being struck by lightning.

We know there’s no love of your life. Love isn’t terrifying like that. It’s walking the fucking dog so the other one can sleep in, it’s doing taxes, it’s cleaning the bathroom without hard feelings. It’s having an ally in life. It’s not fire, it’s not lightning. It’s what she always had with me. Isn’t it?

But what if she’s right? What if the Sicilians are right? That it’s this earth-shattering thing she felt? What if one day you meet someone, and it feels like it could never be anyone else? Not because other people are less attractive, or drink too much, or have issues in bed, or have to alphabetize every fucking book or organize the dishwasher in some way you just can’t live with. It’s because they aren’t this person. Maybe you can go through your whole life and never meet them, and think love is all these other things, but if you do meet them, God help you! Because then: ka-blam! You’re screwed.

What is love? Is it the good dear thing? Or is it the lightning bolt?”

gasping for air

“I’m glad we’re on the same page.”

“Me too.”

We waited — for the slightest hesitation, the softest protest, the inevitable retraction. They never came. Instead, the silence grew viscous, like molasses, and at last, with nothing left to say, we hung up the phone.

I sat in stillness for a long time after. For an autumn night in Los Angeles, it was chilly, and I felt alone. The hum of the refrigerator, the rhythmic ticking of the clock, our time racing toward oblivion.

It made me wonder how things that take years to build can crumble in seconds, how something once sturdy can atrophy into debris. No one sees it coming. You simply find yourself knee-deep in water, on a sinking ship in the North Atlantic Ocean.

For me, just a 24-minute phone call, and I was drowning.

things left unsaid

I shouldn’t have, but I went through our old text conversations last night. I figured I could catch a whiff of you, if I scrolled long enough through the ping-pong of blues and greys. Reading, I could hear your voice, clear as day: its cadence, inflections, your dog-like panting nestled in-between thoughts.

I could hear mine as well: naïve, brazen, utterly euphoric. It made me cringe, similar to when I’d stumbled upon an old VHS of myself singing “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera in front of my third grade class. Both then and now, I see and hear a different person — one whom I concomitantly despise yet pine after. Who was I then?

I love you. I miss you.

I never realized how often I sent you those words until I counted. 38 times in three weeks. 38 times — before bed, between auditions, after dropping you off, just because. I don’t know what compelled me to say it so often; I was sure you already knew. I guess I couldn’t help myself: I wanted to say it, and I wanted you to know.

I love you. I miss you.

The messages eventually tapered, like fine droplets dissipating in the sun. The flurry of emotions subsided, and in its place, a calm assurance. There were moments, of course, when I missed the volatility, the gushing-forth of visceral passion and longing — yes, in the way it made me feel, but more so, in the way it made me act. The resolve to do anything and everything for you—for us—I missed.

It’s over now. It was for the best, except that I wish I had said those words, those words which once came so freely and rapturously, more often during our final few weeks. I want you to know, though, that I never stopped feeling those things; sure, they ebbed and flowed, changed and evolved, grew and matured, but they were always ever-present. I wish I’d just stayed unabashed about it, as I had been when I first laid eyes on you. You’ll say you already knew all of this, you’ll say you’d known all along; but sometimes, it’s just nice to say aloud.

I love you. I miss you.