We stay up late and play charades. You pretend not to notice how your knees touch mine beneath the kitchen table and I pretend not to hear your girlfriend come in and out late at night. We have good lives. You bring me carrots from our garden while I read in bed and we smile at each other and miss the fact that we’re the luckiest people in the world.
The first day I met you, I knew. You opened the door and I knew. I knew I knew I knew. I knew because I was expecting nothing. I knew because it was a surprise. I knew because it felt like the most natural thing in the world, the only logical conclusion. I walked down the street and arrived at your door and I knew it would be mine, too.
Later, we’d sit on the couch and get to know each other. You showed me how your bones grew in broken ways, how you were clumsy and athletic. You peeled your lip back and leaned in to show me your chipped tooth and I knew. I knew I knew I knew.
But we are the story of missed beginnings and obvious endings. We take up temporary space and only remember names until we forget. And you’re everywhere and I’m always looking. On the train past West Oakland, I look out at the crates and read the graffiti. I search for your name or my face. I want to write to you and tell you that you’re my muse. I want to ask how many girls have told you that. I want to ask if you’ve caught your breath yet, because I still lose mine.
And I remember one of our last nights in that house, in that kitchen. You picked blackberries from our backyard and you made that tart. I remember you told me you weren’t a fan of sweets, so you cut me a slice and we shared.
Has anyone ever loved us the way we loved each other? I wanted to wrap my arms around you and pull you closer, I wanted to listen to you and talk to you, wanted to cement the two of us together, wrap myself up in you like Klimt’s lovers. That night we walked back to our bedrooms and said goodnight. I shut my door and kept my thoughts to myself. But I knew. I knew I knew I knew.
Now I write notes to you. Long notes, short notes, notes on “While You Were Out…” stationary at work. I fold them into impossibly small squares and put them in pockets, purses, sometimes even the trashcan. I release them like messages in bottles to the future me that will search for them. I write reminders that I had art and hardwood floors and chickens and blackberries and sunflowers so large they couldn’t help but bow their heads.
“But still, in general, I know what I’m doing. I did something to make your eyes open up, right? So why is you talkin’ ‘bout it for?”