a river in egypt

Did you know that I missed you the minute we declared we were done?
Didn’t make a difference in the end. We knew we’d run
From the other
To separate corners to tend to our wounds
With the taking of new lovers
But if I hold my head high
And stare straight ahead
Do I look colder?
Or older
Like I’m better at control
If I sip my drink slower,
Do I look stronger than I did?

“I miss you so much”
I’ve typed it out a thousand times
And watched my finger hover over the send button
Like I’m afraid to touch it
And I am
Because this is the first time I can’t tell you that I miss you and what else is there to say?
“Hey
I cried today
about our parting for the first time since we parted ways”
“Hey,
I sat in my car for an hour and lamented to empty air
About how I would never wake up pressed against your side
About how we were doomed from the very first smile”
It isn’t as simple as saying “my heart is sore”
I’m still thinking about how much we did
Now that we don’t do it any more.

So lets say I delete your texts
And I don’t check my voicemail for your voice
Nor think on your late-night calls that I never ignored
If I can do A through C
And if no one looks too closely at me
I can probably get through this.

If I just don’t think about the last night and the last kiss we shared
If I don’t remember your hands in my hair and gripping my hips
If I don’t remember your fingers tracing my lips
Or all the stops and starts of your heart in the aftermath
If I don’t remember the way we treated sex like it was an art
To be mastered
Then I won’t feel like I’m constantly coming apart

If I don’t think about setting fires with you at the end of the world until 3 a.m.
Or how I fell so hard without a care,
and the way you told me that night that the smoke smell clung to my hair
or the first time you complimented the perfume I’d wear
And the way you laughed when I rolled around in your bed
Rubbing smoke-and-perfume-scented skin against your sheets
So you’d remember me
Because one gray morning you confessed that you slid to my side of the bed when I left.

If I don’t think of the press of a body to mine in the dark when it was ridiculously cold and the heater was off
Or what if I forgot how absurdly terrible you were with romance?
Tell me
Did you know we were doomed when I told you “I can’t dance”?
Or was it when you noticed the interest in my glance?

17 years difference didn’t make a difference until we decided it did
So where did the difference slip in?
Or perhaps it was this: the first time I saw you, on stage with sheets of paper clutched in your hands and erratic energy under your skin
Or the first time you saw me, red-lipped and wrapped in black
Pale and speechless with eyes downcast
And your name already on my tongue
Can’t I just go back?
there was
A month
A week
A life
Time
Hell I know there was a day
before I knew you even existed.
Before that, was I not okay?
But not today
Today I remember the words “This is for the best” like a knife through my chest
while this isn’t the first time we’ve gone through this mess
I’m capable of dealing with it even less
But I think
if I repeat this like a broken record
I could put all that college psych 101 to the test
And tomorrow
“It’s for the best.”

If not,
Acting 101 taught me
That I can probably just fake the rest.

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