On the flip, Love.
a Love letter of sorts
I watched my wine as I slowly swirled it round and round in my glass. I remember thinking about the size of the goblet and those swirls wine makes; what are they again, legs, arms, tears? What did that sommelier teach me? What was his name again…?
I snapped into the present. ‘WHAT?!’ I thought. I looked at you, ready to bark a quick reaction to your un-called-for-rudeness. Until I realized; I hadn’t really remembered where I was. Or how long we had been there. I saw the hurt in your eyes. I saw the frustration in those little lines on your forehead and the anger welling in your pursed lips. Your eyes sunk into mine and you slowly relaxed. I held your gaze for what seemed like an eternity. You didn’t know it, but I saw deep into your secret you were keeping from me. I heard your inner voice scream for my approval and I felt your heart wish I would stand directly in the way.
“Did you listen to a thing I said?”
“I’m sorry. No. I was watching my wine swirl and got lost in my thoughts…” I trailed off.
“You know. You do that often these days. You’re gone more than you are here. And when you are here, it’s as if your spirit cannot sit still.”
“Are you leaving?” I asked. The words just came out of me. I had thought I was going to respond in kind to your comments about my lack of ability to stay present these past few months. But, instead, that question popped out of me.
We sat there in the candle light under the awning. I heard the cars go by and the server sell, yet another person, on the Grenache over the Syrah. Your eyes bore a hole into the center of me. I felt my heart race and my throat close up. I wished I could cry at that moment. Not because I wanted you to feel bad, but because I wanted to feel SOMETHING. Anything. You wanted me to stop you. You wanted me to scream and cry and beg. But. You wanted to leave. And, I would never stop you.
“……it’s not leaving. It’s more just going down this path that we are already on. You left a long time ago. I’m just more or less closing out the tab.”
“I’ll miss you.” I said.
“You will be too lost in thoughts about your wine. They’re called ‘legs’. As in, wine legs. I saw you thinking it over. Remember that vinter we loved. He taught you that. Well. Us. He taught Us that.”
“I didn’t leave. I just…. I just don’t think I ever actually came along. This time, anyway.”
“Ha. Yeah. I stole the bird of paradise. I should have let you be you. I’m sorry.” You said it with such self awareness.
I swirled my wine a few more times and thought about how I should be feeling something. Sadness, relief, heartbreak, joy, anger, pain, loss, redemption, freedom. But. I felt none of those. I felt almost nothing, in a strange way. I finally broke the silence with; “I’ll be okay.”
“Yes. Yes, you will be. But I won’t be.” The truth of that comment stung. It nearly took my breath away.
I remembered the first day I met you. Sitting at that crappy bar. I was catching up with an old friend and you were looking for trouble. Your first words to me were not of a polite ‘Hello’ or the typical pick up line or even the typical-orginal pick up line. You turned to me while I was waiting for my friend to return from the bathroom and you looked me dead in the eye and said: “You’ll ruin me. I just know it.”
I stood up. Held your head in my hands and kissed your forehead gently. The heat from the daytime sun was warm on my lips. You kept your eyes closed. The words you wanted to say would not come out of your mouth. Your heart would not allow it. I put my hand on your chest one last time and you breathed deep. We both smiled.
“On the flip, Love.” I choked ever so slightly at the last breath of that statement. A huge tear ran down the side of your cheek.
Your final parting words; “Don’t look back, My Star.” There was no choke, or waiver in your voice. It boomed from you in a soft way. There was nothing final in it and there was everything final in it.
I felt my feet cement to the ground. I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t go. You felt my confusion. You looked up. I was scared. I was nervous.
You raised your hand. I laughed. I gave you a high-five and turned on my foot. That was all there ever would be.