- When I met you, I would only bring tragedies up to the rooftop, or down to the street corner, or to the bike cage. You asked me if any of them were true.
"You make the saddest stories so beautiful with that pen," you said, on the same day that we held hands for the first time and I found out you smoked.
It's all we are now, though. Just more depressing words from my pen. You loved my writing that much; and that was more than me, and it ruined us.
- The January before you turned twenty-one, you told me you were afraid to become an adult. "I don't want to be somebody a child will hate."
You had always smelled like peppermint, cologne, and the truth, and it made me so sure when I told you, "You won't be. You're different."
And hey – it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.
- We spent the summer talking about baby names and our house in Colorado. You wanted a daughter and I wanted four boys, and one of them had to be called James.
It was October when you asked me for your jacket back, and it was about two days after that you decided you didn't love me anymore.
"I'm not leaving you," you told me.
But you weren't staying. And, after you were gone, I decided to never have children because I really wanted a son named James, and he would make it impossible to forget.
- Sometimes I'd ask about your mother. I'd ask if she knew about prison camps in the Congo.
Once you'd stopped talking about what she did when you were five/six/eleven/seventeen, you'd pull me closer and say, "Between her and those camps? There's no difference."
But there is now. The difference is, I'm sorry about things I shouldn't be. And you're sorry about nothing.
- It took a few years, but I need caffeine now because of you, and we both stepped out of the same coffeehouse on the same Monday.
"Tell me something," I said; and God, I tried not to cry, I really did. "Was any of it real?"
And you just said no, and I never saw you again.
(Your answer hadn't changed. But the way you said it, and the way you smelled, had. And it hurt, okay?)
- You told me your name was Drew. I lied and said mine was Victoria.
It gets me sometimes – that you knew I used to crush mayflies under my thumbs because I wanted to feel big, but you never knew my name.
Meanwhile, I knew yours, and I never understood you. Like how you fell off of your cousin's motorbike when you were young but you didn't break anything.
Or, how you woke up that one day, and all of your feelings for me were just gone.
- I think they expected me to get upset when I found out about your wife and daughter. They expected me to rush right over to the morgue, where they told me you were weeping in front of a pane of glass and asking for me.
But I was your second option before – and you'd never once cried for me, not like I did – so I all said was, "Please don't."
I haven't put the battery back in my phone. Also, they all expect me to pick up my pen, so I won't.
- You gave up on us and me, I just gave up.