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Tuesday, March 21, 2006 

L is for the way you looked at me


Tell me we were beautiful, when really we were ugly and gray. The wind making our skin dry and pail, cracked and red, how did our eyes get so rimmed with black? How did our hair get split and frayed? How did our hands slip from one another's until we stood cold, shaking, with them shoved into the pits of our arms? We wore black coats and black boots, stood on opposite sides of the train station, but neither of us were going anywhere.

Did you slip down the staircase and rush out to the waiting street when the train blocked you from my view?

Or did you wait there, anxious for me to reappear, only to find my spot empty?

Tell me that we abandoned each other simultaneously.

I didn't expect to see you here. Not here, in this brightly-lit family restaurant, proudly showing me pictures of your offspring. I thought we'd be drunk in a dark shadowy bar. I thought it would be a place where we could confess broken hearts. Our smiles, out in the real world, are stretched too tight and our teeth are unnaturally white.

We ask, "How much was your session?" and compare receipts. We don't ask if we were the source of all the hang-up calls, the anonymous late night door knocks, we don't confess regrets or the number of nights it took to fall asleep next to a new body.

I don't say, "I didn't give up on you, I gave up on me." And because of this I am spared your response.

Later I will think about the healthy glow of your skin, the stains on the lower left corner of your shirt, and while I am doing this I will try to relax.


I will open my hands and release the folds of my own skin, held tightly, in some insane attempt to keep it all together. I will forget that I used to be effortless.