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I am sitting here at the GasStop on the corner, at one of the two torn-vinyl booths in the small Subway sandwiched in the corner of the station. Pancake syrup has pooled onto the tabletop, which I didn’t notice until after I put my elbow in it. (Why is there even pancake syrup at a freakin’ Subway? It’s Subway!)
I ended up here somehow without realizing I had a plan to even leave the house. I thought I was going to sit on the balcony out my window and look at The Stars. But I couldn’t. Because they didn’t used to The Stars. First they were My Stars. The ones I always saw while setting out there awhile, battling chronic cases of insomnia. But then I shared them. I made them Our Stars. The ones I shoed her while slow dancing on the balcony to soft Norah Jones, while reading her Tennyson poetry and her not understanding a word of it, while kissing her with cherry chapstick and beer breath from parties. All of it, those stars witnessed. And so they were Our Stars. Until they couldn’t be Ours, because their wasn’t an Us. So I sat there and looked at the stars that now mocked in unusual cruelty with memories from a happier time. A happier time somewhere before three weeks, two days. They were a shrine to the Us that used to be. And so before I knew it I was grabbing keys, pulling on jeans, climbing down the gutter, revving up the truck, and driving away from The Stars. Two blocks, from there to here. Two blocks is all I got before thoughts of her put me in a state of mind unfit to drive unless there were to be major highways damage.
The door tunkles as someone walks in. I don’t bother looking up. I am thinking. I am listening to Norah Jones playing softly on my Ipod. I am missing her.
Something makes me look up, for no good reason.
Its Her. The Her. My Her. Well the Used-to-be Mine Her. The Her that made me part of an Us. I loved the Us. God, how I loved the Us. Why is she here? I know why she’s here. I remember, this is her favorite cigarette stop. Why didn’t I remember this before? Oh, I did didn’t I? I never forgot. Then why did I come? Did I want this? Maybe. Maybe I wanted to be here. Maybe. I know that there are no Maybes about the fact that I want her. There aren’t Maybes between us. it’s a whole mountain of other stuff. A mountain called Heartbreak. And the peak of Heartbreak or maybe the beginning was called She Said I Think We Need Space. That is a huge thing and it stands between her and me, blocking my way to salvation. My way back to her. Without her I am Titanic; I am sinking fast, yet dying slowly. Dying without her.
She smiles at the cashier. God, I miss that smile. I see her slip the receipt in the back pocket of her jeans. God, I miss those jeans. I remember those jeans…
She looks over at me. I look down quickly, shuffling my Ipod, staring at Subway’s menu. When I look up again, she is walking outside. She didn’t see me. No, she saw me. She had to. The blind man from down the street could see me in this deserted shop. She saw me and left. She left me. Maybe she was nervous. I’m nervous too. Maybe she was nervous for a different reason. Maybe she’s not nervous about trying to prepare to give The Speech. The one I’ve been working on. I’m preparing the I’ve Had Enough Of This Space And I Miss You Like Crazy And I Want Us Back Speech. Maybe she has prepared a different nerve wracking speech. The I Like My Space And I’m Tired Of You Speech.
Ouch. That f#ck*ng hurt. I am blindsided. Bright lights flickering in my peripherals. On. Off. On. Off. What? The? F*ck??
I look up from my worrying.
I see her in her car. I see her sitting in the drivers seat, flickering her headlights at me. She sees me seeing her. She stops with the crazy lightshow. Thank God. She raises her hand and uses her index finger to beckon me towards her with a come hither look on her face. A twinkle in her eye. I think. Perhaps the lights blinded me more than I thought. I blink away black spots and slowly get up form my table. I walk towards the door. The door tunkles again as I step out.
I open the door to her car. I step in. I sit. Inhale. I’ve missed her scent. But I can’t look at her. I missed the sight of her in person but I’m scared. A coward. Then I feel her curls brushing my shoulder. I turn my head. I am looking into her eyes, she is leaning into me. Invading my space. But I do not mind one bit.
I missed you, I tell her. She says, “I missed you more.” I tell her to prove it. She smirks and there is a mischievous twinkle in her eye now, I’m sure of it. And then I don’t see anything. I am closing her eyes, and feeling her lips on mine and it is wonderful. Spectacular. She is a part of me and I am a part of her and we are so connected in a way I never felt before her. Like I couldn’t breathe before I met her. I never imagined a reunion like this. I take my hand and tug at her curls slightly. Massaging her scalp. She loves it. She loves me. She leans more. Closer and closer. We are more connected. She and I are making the us again--
“Hey buddy, can I help you? You want anything else to go with that?”
I open my eyes and pick up my head form its resting position on the plastic tabletop. Pancake syrup is slathered on my cheek. Norah Jones plays softly in my ears through Ipod earbuds. But I still hear the waiter above her soft crooning voice, asking what I want. I almost say her name. But then--
The bell tunkles. I look up sharply, hoping.
It’s an old married couple. A couple of grey-haired old timers. Probably on a cross country trip as a second honeymoon.
I look back at the server.
“I’d like to be shot. Here in the heart, with a morphine bullet. I’d like the pain to go away. I’d like the memories to fade. But most of all, I’d like to hold her and be the Us we used to be. That’s all I’d like, please.”