Most people dread seeing an ex love with their new flame but I look forward to it. How incredibly interesting would it be to see the man who held your heart for months on end through times of trouble, exhilarating desire and what seemed to be endless runs of joyful days – be with a new burning crave that, unfortunately, no longer is inspired by you.
I saw you today from the other side of my car window. Waiting right below the street lamp where you and I once hailed a taxi together. It was a frigid January evening and the streets were cluttered with drunken flirts and a distant ringing of reggaeton. I’ve doused myself with enough whisky and had thought the night should be over early rather than later; these days I start my mornings before seven, with double pours of coffee, enough to keep me active though hazed, enough to jumpstart the day, enough to help me remember what life was like before you and I and before you and I was no longer. So I left the pub early but I sat by my car, as I often do now, to sober up from the confusion that my lack of alcoholic practice have induced, and watch strangers spill into the streets from the musky, dreadful, sweaty beer-smelling seats of our favorite spot.
I don’t do it on purpose you know. And I sure hope you aren’t as vain as you once were, to think I’d be here to see a glimpse of your face. Even if it’s just across the room. Even if you don’t see me. Even if I don’t see you – but maybe, if, somehow, I could go home with the thought of having shared the same room with you again, maybe I could sleep better.
No, it isn’t like that anymore.
But today I saw you as you waited under the street lamp. I knew not for a cab – we had a beautiful day when you bought your car, I remember. You kissed me by the cheek and asked if I liked the color you picked. I said, yes, of course, you hadn’t notice I’d been trying to slip this shade right into your subconscious decision making? I never liked wearing red lipstick, or blood-red pumps for work, but for one whole week I had kept it going until that Saturday afternoon came and we got the keys. We drove longer than we had ever in that car; and you’d develop a habit of placing your sweaty palm right above where my knees would rest and I would place my (even sweatier) palms on top of yours and we listened to music and I sometimes would kiss your temples and you would give me that look – that alarming look of surprise – as if you’d forgotten that I was there, by your passenger seat, or as if you’d missed me much more than you were willing to admit.
You stood by the streetlamp and then I saw you take her hand and pull her away from the group of girls blowing kisses to your direction. She gave you a smile, and mouthed a ‘sorry’. You planted a kiss on her lips, much longer than she expected – I can see it in her eyes – until she finally gave in and held your head between her palms and squeezed your temples with a dizzying level of affection, in compliance, in adoration.
It all happened so quickly I couldn’t look away. I feel like I’ve intruded or walked into the theatre right in the middle of the first act; it felt like a dream, like an out of body experience. Like watching you kiss me from that night we hailed a taxi together. Except her legs are longer and her skirt, much shorter – she had better bone structure especially in profile, with jaws clenched, eyes closed, mouth half-opened and a heart, it seemed, all yours.
It’s a Saturday, and I should get going. I’d promised myself to run in the morning; you had taught me how to set routines, do you remember? To eat my breakfast, drink my coffee, and run longer. So I started my car and took one last look. You were walking away, hands tight in a light wobble towards the red pickup across. I’ve had many morose moments in my life, but I guess none ever like this. I had never felt happiness and strife with a certainty of loneliness, and a slight quiver to my lips. As I felt the warm tears slip its salty tribute from the corners of my eyes right into my tongue I thought – what a lucky evening must this be; to see the love of my life, I guess, finally find his.