Let Them Go

Your friend has my number in his WhatsApp. We can talk if you want. Bye.

She left. Not the dead of night but the clear light of day. Noon, and unusual. Still wearing that ludicrously short dress she had on the night before. Makeup completely gone. No more bullshit to hide the bullshit. I didn’t care.

She didn’t have to tell me that we should talk more. I knew my friend had her number. I thought it would be more fun to surprise her later.

I met another girl that weekend. She loved asking me questions. Tell me about your job. How many brothers and sisters do you have? What was it like being the only boy?

It was part romantic encounter part deposition. Flattering and exhausting.

She had another question.

Can I tell you a secret?”

Uhh sure.” I pulled away.

I’m married.”

It ended there, and the whole thing was comparatively innocent. Still, she didn’t want any social links back to me. Good plan.

The familiar pattern: You travel, you meet someone. “So fun meeting you!”

[Let’s stay in touch forever!!!]

The other girl, we talked a lot. I loved texting in Spanish. My phone started correcting “hahaha” to “jajaja”. Text in Spanish, talk in Spanglish, sex in Spanish. That was how we communicated.

Things continued, virtually. I missed her. I never met a girl who wanted to touch me more than her. Whatever those chemicals are that get released when you are privileged to sleep next to someone you like, I needed.

A foot of separation would prompt “Adonde vas?” Nowhere. Fuck. You are so cute. I’ll kiss you again and forget about whatever moved me in the first place. The kind of shit that is so damn cute at the beginning but becomes one of the reasons why you want to break up six months later — ”I’m not growing!”, “I need space!”, etc.

But what happens when you realize you’re here and they’re there and you don’t love them enough to change the geography of it all? It’s finished and yet they will always be a few taps away. “Mi amor, ya te dormiste?

Maybe years later you keep seeing their photos. Does one night mean we should forever be digitally entangled?

No, I don’t want your number. No, I won’t text you. No, I won’t responder.

Cause if I do it will just hurt more later.

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