I told you once I stole your eyes, that I’d use them in a story, some other version of you: a version that grew up in the south and never had a mother, a version that courts women with a drawl in his voice and secretly reads Poe in bed. A version you’d probably hate if you met him on the street. And you told me once that I would probably someday leave you, and that when I did I would write about it, and our little house and the stray neighborhood white cat that we called Sam, and how when I got really angry I liked to sleep in the yard. All of these things were/ are true.
I’ve been having a hard time lately telling the difference between telling the truth and telling you off and despite what your mother thinks there is a difference. There is a difference the same way there is a difference between afternoon and evening; you don’t know when it happens only that one is here and the other is there. And that while they switched places your beer ran dry and your shoulders grew cold.
Sometimes I think about you. And when I do you’re always sitting in the backyard of the first house we had, the house on Magnolia. Do you remember? I remember. It’s one of the only things I remember. We made lots of vegan tacos, you wore that faded blue shirt all the time and never had shoes on, and you built me a bookshelf from wood you found in the alley but it broke after a few weeks so we had to stack my hordes of literature in neat little piles near the couch, and I said it made us look smart. And then you said, you are smart, and you kissed me, and we made love on the rattan rug. It left burn marks on my back for a week and perhaps a scar, but I’ve never looked.
You told me one afternoon when we were still young, and still knew we were young, you told me that someday I would probably leave you. That night we drank warm beer and watched the sun go down over power lines and you set out a saucer of milk for Sam and then I fell asleep on couch.
And I suppose now you should know, that even if I could, I’ll never leave every version of you.