I like those fond recollections of past loves, so intimately, yet casually told, of moments shed of the contextual cage of an actual relationship, all of its daily faults and banal frustrations, excised. Just one story, of that one time when — your someone at the time, your college girlfriend, sweet-faced, and a kiss you shared when her family was sleeping.

I like to imagine you, writing the memory out with the barest of smiles — this something from another time, something outside of time. And touching your face, the scratchy beard, you feel as if the space between past-you, deep-in-love-you, and the one sitting here now were evinced only by the gauzy touchstones of a slight change in physique, the roughening of your cheek.

What did you think, then, about the future? A great, scary thing that hadn’t yet happened to you, or her. That hadn’t yet robbed you of your fits of fear and your rampages of selfishness. The way you loved and hurt each other in the same moment.

In the future, that person, who waited naked for you, who talked late into the night with you, became a story told offhandedly to lonely strangers, as we nurse our cups of tea, black coffee, quickly cooling.