Dear Lonely Loner
Dear Lonely Loner,
Without you, I fall into bed fully clothed, lights on and wake up too early or too late, black rings of makeup smeared around my eyes, like Saturn.
Remember how we used to stay up all night talking and dancing and making love as though we’d die if we stopped?
I eat French fries and drink soda for dinner, or not at all. You know I hate eating alone.
Can you see the falling stars from where you are? Its that time of year, you know, when the Perseid meteors light up the sky — when Summer fantastically sheds her starlight in the dark and the afternoon sunsets creep in. Soon it will be night by 4pm; real soon, before we even know it.
I’ve always hated that about winters on this coast. Dark before dinnertime, still hot as hell, traffic worse every year; and Christmas lights on Palm trees so sad. They haven’t been funny since the nineties.
I woke up too early this morning — it was dark out — like you do, and thought about calling you, if only just to hear the phone lady tell me that I am not welcome, no messages; if only to get the canned text, the canned email that says the same — no admittance. Was I so special that I had to be erased once I was no longer yours?
I know where you are, right now; our, sorry, your kitchen window at the cross section where sunrise and freeway meet. I know you aren’t asleep, just dreaming, maybe. I remember how you used to make the best cup of coffee and wake me before you left for work. Some stubborn mornings, you’d kiss me on the forehead and slip out; I’d wake up hours later and chug cold coffee anyway. It was still so good. I loved it when you kissed my forehead. It always made my mornings.
We had less, but we were happier then, weren’t we? The old cliché –
Do you still drink coffee? I’ve quit since.
So can you see them? The stars, I mean. You know, all that stuff about the time of year and all. It’ll be autumn soon.
- Because its dark here still, and I’m searching the sky and nothing. Maybe you’ve been looking longer, faring better, wishing the right wishes while I sit here dreaming the wrong dreams.
The sun is coming up quickly, the black is lifting to blue and when it rises this letter will no longer be important. You will head off to shower, so will everyone else. The dog will need to be let out. And again, the wall of world will rise between us — the distance and noise cement thick and palpable — and I will lose sight of you at your window. Maybe you’ll have turned the light out by then.
But now, in these last moments of night, I imagine myself coiled along your long, lonely spine, mumbling five more minutes into your hair, the kiss at the nape of your neck, my morning prayer.
I think I’ve given up on the stars; like I gave up on us, you’d say. But that’s not completely true. I’ve been searching for your scent in everything. I still listen to traffic in the mornings, like we used to.
Maybe this is why I can’t sleep.
Have you heard? They’ve invented a new shade of blue. And they’ve discovered another storm on Neptune’s cerulean rotation. Oh! And that August 5th is the Mars Rover’s birthday and it sings itself Happy Birthday every year? Everything is so much bigger than we were, we are. And the universe keeps expanding; as though the stars and planets, whole galaxies, have known that we’d always fall behind. They kept going anyway.
I’ve started sleeping on the couch like we used to do. But my neck aches without your arm as a cradle. I’ve watched all the space documentaries I could find. Even the ones we watched together, twice. I will never get out of my head the notion that the Universe wont ever stop expanding, the stars and balls of gas and planets will drift farther and farther apart, until they all explode and dim then fade away. Someday, when days are no longer, it will all be dark and cold; like a perpetual 4pm, wintertime on the West Coast. I guess it wasn’t just us. The Universe means to leave everyone behind.
Hey, remember your place in Albany where I held your head in my lap in the dark and told you stories? Remember how your eyes snapped open, out of sleep, thinking the woosh woosh of the BART train passing was the last one, not the first one of another new workday? The relief on your face, that calm — I haven’t seen it since; in you or in anyone else. You were always my old man, my little boy — both at once.
The sun is up. You should get going. We’ve been here for ages now and maybe could be for ages more had we tried a little harder. Maybe.
I’m sorry. Sorry about the tangent. How is your grandma?
I really just came here meaning to say: I miss you, I miss you, I am so so amiss without you.
I wont hear from you, I understand. So does the Mars Rover. So do the stars.
The Disappearing Girl