I only write love stories. The complexity is too delicious: the truth and the lie, the novelty followed by the mundane, the idea and the reality. I fell in love with a man who had such a beautiful idea of himself. I loved the idea and the man that fell short of it. I used to write him poems on his fridge. The disappointments only added to the gap between him and the illusion such that I thought I had found a secret worth keeping. But it was only a secret he hoped to reject.
I love the way that our ideas fall short of their reality. It is something in the striving, in the dreaming of them that is so beautiful and sad and poignant and pure and true and real and unravelling.
To hold contradiction: that is the challenge of my age.
And so it is that I meet you at a coffee shop in the early hours of a Friday morning, after a week of work – of trying to work – of emotional setback and some victories. It is a sunny autumn morning. There have been birds in the early hours, happy sounding, and the sound of the ocean as an echo of the summer.
We talk of practical things, safe things. I long to tell you that I still love you, that you will always drive me to passionate distraction but that I still love you for that. That I will bear our children, build our house together and argue until the day yawns again – but all the while I will love you in the arguing and in the making up and in the children and the dreaming and the building and the breaking down.
But instead we talk of practical things like jobs and cars and weather and friends and food. I smile at your seriousness for these practical things and think of all the other things. And I miss you – even though you are right here, in front of me, ordering your coffee and eating your eggs because it is early morning and there is a day of activity ahead of us: each in our own separate ways. Perhaps I wonder why I wanted to meet with you, but it is a fleeting thought. I know that I wanted to brush up against the future I had imagined and affirm the present that we have chosen instead.
The coffee is good and the eggs are fortifying. You seem well, in your way and I cannot imagine my skin against yours, my breath in your ear my world in your world because we have been so rent apart and our orbits are so distinct now: as we are from one another. But the memory of before our parting still lingers, like a secret that we do not wish to keep. And yet, in its way, it is that secret that keeps us together.