I wanted to write something that didn’t dig at the walls of what we were, that didn’t brush up against me in the produce section while handling overripe tomatoes at seven in the morning. I wanted to write something that no one could read and sit in their silence and think, this is about me. Everything is about anyone.
He tells me he thought for a long time about a lover he kept in Paris, about the time that he flew there on a whim years after leaving her, and came to her apartment only to cry on the couch and tell her he didn’t know why he was there, to tell her about his mother dying, to tell her he never loved her. For her to then tell him to leave.
We are sitting at a restaurant in Venice at the same table where you and I sat when I told you not to hold my hand, afraid a stranger might see us.
Later that night while he and I are kissing in a rental car and listening to music like we are still twenty-two, I tell him time is strange. What I mean is that kissing him feels like I have stepped through a doorway and am in the Travelodge off Sunset or a Motel 6 in Minneapolis. The both of us leave thinking, we are not meant for kissing anymore.
In the high heat of the afternoon I go swimming in the cold river in town and I let it carry me past familiar banks and I swim against the current and I get nowhere. In the night I wake up and listen to the whir of the fan in the kitchen pushing the box AC unit air into the bedroom, that is not either of ours. In the morning, I walk around the block and have the same feeling that I had while kissing in the rental car.
The feeling that time is like origami and you can step in and out of it, and while you might carry feelings with you, that they might remain in your pocket or buzzing between fingers tips, that it does not mean they belong any longer where you are. That sometimes everything is just about everyone.