I’m allergic to dogs and cats, which made it impossible for me to sleep at your place. So without protest or compromise, you showed up at my door on a nightly basis — leaving your pets alone for the night.
I’m not particularly skilled in the kitchen, so you did most of the cooking. To make up for my culinary shortcomings, I gave you money for groceries and often took you out to dinner. You hated Thai and Indian, which could’ve been a deal-breaker, but wasn’t.
Do you remember that night at Slice on St. Charles? How we over-ordered and under-drank? Your cheeks were flushed when you talked about how much you loved your job. You asked a lot of questions and seemed genuinely interested in my answers, rambling or clipped. “So, copywriting,” you said, chewing on a gnarled piece of pizza crust. “Do you want to do this for the rest of your life?” I looked at you and felt my eyes soften. “I do,” I said. “For the rest of my life.”
I knew you were asking about my career, but I wanted you to read into my answer. Could he mean us?
Did I mean us? I don’t know. I might have. It felt like an option, right? I believe we had potential right from the start. Do you remember this? It was our first date.
From then on, I saw you nearly every day. We exploited every opportunity to see one another. To me, every responsibility was an obstacle between myself and being alone with you.
We moved fast.
I met your friends and you met mine. We traded Christmas gifts. We kissed on New Years Eve. And then on Valentine's Day, we went to dinner at a fancy sushi place in the Warehouse District. We ordered four rolls and you drank sake for the first time. At one point, I reached across the table and ran my fingers through your hair because it was Valentine's Day and I wanted you to know that I was here. I was with you, right in the middle of this humming, low-lit, bottomless mine of kisses, and opportunity, and lassitude, and eventually — solace.
After dinner, we went home and had sex. We fell asleep face-to-face, jammed into one another with the mutual understanding that comes from closely studied intimacy. In the morning, we had sex again, because I heard somewhere that sex starts in the morning. “I have to shower,” I whispered before putting my mouth on yours and swiftly leaving the room.
I was digging through the dryer for fresh underwear when you started screaming at me.
You’d gone through my phone while I was in the shower and found texts from a guy I met on Instagram. The moment I processed why you were yelling, I screamed, “Get the fuck out!” without looking at you. Then, without saying a word, you slammed the door.
I finished getting dressed.
I went to work.
I worked until 5PM.
I went home.
I didn’t hear from you.
For the next few days, I took the stalemate in 12-hour increments — feeling cocky about my resistance but checking my phone with fervent compulsion. I could be vigilant, but I WOULD NOT break down.
Then one day, I realized a whole week had passed.
As of today, it’s been three months and 22 days since I’ve heard from you.
I owe you an apology, don’t I?
But would it even matter at this point? Isn’t this the break-up scenario everyone wants? A clean break?
At least once a day, I feel guilty.
I never told you this, but you made the most unbelievable baked sweet potatoes I’d ever eaten. They were just sweet potatoes with cinnamon, sugar, and butter baked inside, but they were delicious because you made them.
Also, my friends really liked you. They saw you the way I did; beautiful, charming, and kind.
And one last thing.
You left your charcoal-colored cardigan at my place.
If you want it back, I'd be happy to meet you.
It can be someplace public.
And I promise not to make it weird.
But if you don't want it back, I'd be happy to keep it.
It still smells like you.
And I love that smell.