{stop wearing that shirt}

An open letter to a[nother] lost soulmate


I miss you. Us. My voice, your laugh. Our voices wavering on a tenuous connection. Your voice. Your voice. Your voice.

In the end, that’s all I really had of you, wasn’t it?


I miss the me that I was with you. I miss that me. I miss this me.

All of this missing, this aching. This pain-for-the-sake-of-pain.


On Valentine’s Day, you posted a photo. That photo.

You’re in that shirt. The one we found together, on “our” day. The day you insisted we spend, just us. For us.

We ate Italian that night.

We ate Italian every night that was branded: us.

It’s red, the shirt, so I understand why you — literal, blinders-on-move-forward-don’t-stop, you — would post it.

And you’re looking at me. Or her, if there is a her now. Or maybe just them. Everyone who scrolls. Passers-by of your emojis and quoted lyrics and

me.


I took that photo.

You don’t know. Wouldn’t know. You are not, were never, could never be — cruel. As much as you are, were, will be — selfish. In your not loving & never loving & never saying so.

Until you did.

I remember the photographer handing me her second camera. That night. I remember being distracted by the machine in my hands, and wanting to be present in your show, that show, but the need to capture. Something.

You, maybe.

I remember the words coming from you. The dark heat of the room. The whine of the mosquitos around the patio lights when we fled outside to cool down. You tapped my forehead, softly, to kill one. We laughed. The abruptness with which you reached for me. Your willingness, unthinkingness, to perform a gesture that could hurt me. So easily. So gently. Without a second, or third, or fourth, thought. It was silly. It was all so silly.

And there was a welt there the next morning, anyway.

I remember how the shirt, that shirt, wasn’t even the right choice for the evening. Sweat-soaked and heavy as we peeled it off you in your minuscule ice-box room, later. After.

That night.


“I miss you,” I said.

Typed it, actually, because now we don’t say anything at all.

And I hated myself. The need in me. The need to say it. To feel it.

a reading for us — i should have listened

The missing.

Because without it — without scrolling through your photos. Or listening to your music. Or blocking your posts. Or skipping your songs.

Without missing you, I have nothing left of you.

So I typed, “I miss you.”

And you responded with—

Nothing.

Nothing, at all.