“I proposed to him.”
That feels weird to say,
especially out loud,
when he, my former, is light years away
from me. Well, more like 160 miles,
but semantics, right?
I told J. that we had been inseparable,
except for distance, for almost 5 years,
best friends and all until life hit.
He had gotten cancer and was in remission,
I was a recent college graduate with a suicide attempt on my permanent record
and neither one of us had a sense of direction of where we wanted life to take us,
but love would see us through, that’s what we kept telling ourselves.
“Tell me, what happened that night? What was his response?”
I smiled fondly, remembering a life from history past.
Told him that in the midst of a silent moment, during a midnight
conversation of who knows what, I gathered every courageous nerve
and stuffed it in my mouth, ready to break tradition in the name of love.
Deep breath, and then, “Will you marry me?”
A slight pause, a hummingbird’s inhale.
“I’m thinking about it.” I could hear his smile over the phone.
We were as close as we were gonna get to pre-engagement.
(Looking back, I think the only reason why that exchange was kept secret
is because he didn’t say “yes.”)
“When’s the last time you two talked?”
It’s been a lifetime, maybe close to three,
minus those two weeks in December 2017
when we thought we could be friends,
a symbiotic pairing beneficial to each other.
We were wrong.
“You were in a committed relationship for a long time and then it ended.
It’s okay for you to feel heartbroken, to grieve that loss.
It’s okay for you to cry,” J. told me.
I scoffed, almost close to insulted that he would encourage such weak behavior;
wasn’t he supposed to be helping me overcome my trauma?
A lost lover barely counts as trauma, I told him.
He told me to trust him, so I did.
And I wept after that session ended.
A good, ugly, tears-soaked-pillow, snot-pooling-on-covers cry.
A cry that was 2 years too late.
And I am better for it.
In my grieving, that lasted just a week, I wrote the following:
I’d Hate to Forgive You (A Lesson in Heartbreak)
I see you there, at the threshold
of our friendship, or ex-friendship,
after having secured the lock
to our past relationship—you know, the one
where I proposed to you on the phone at midnight?
Centuries, eons ago.
I see you turn away from me in slow motion.
I wanna stop you from leaving
No wait! like my dad when he became a master of abandonment.
No wait! like my first beau who, after gifting me with my first kiss,
decided to leave me two days later.
No wait! like every other acquaintance
I’d hate to forgive you,
but that’s what good Christians do, so I will, eventually.
In the meantime, I’ll loathe you for being weak, for not fighting
for our rare connection, for choosing video games
and uncertainty about the future over your long-lost lover.