Nine Years

9years
He called me Pretty Girl
Almost had me right away with just the written words
How ever did we find each other
Some online stranger-finding service

He wore jeans and a dark shirt
I approached him at the bar
As he sat nursing some whiskey drink
Legs slightly open
Like a man sits
I remember that moment
Because he spoke to me
Like I was human
Even though I was a sexual being
A strange woman
I think I touched his thigh
And he held my hand
It could have happened
He liked to touch me

And there was a sweetness
Oh my god
He was so sweet, almost awkward
Not a seducer
Or the best there ever was
We flirted
We kissed in my car that first time
It wasn’t the best kiss
But it was more than a kiss
It was him
Unassuming, no expectations
His soft, sad eyes
His stature and size
His voice was deep and warm
And his smile

It was nine years ago
Trauma marriage, my son just out of diapers
Separated and alone
I was trying to break free
Trying to become something more
I had friends and support and potential
But I was broken

And my strongest recollection

I remember HIM
nine years ago
And frozen moments from inside
a barely occupied corner apartment on a 3rd floor

How he picked me up like his bride and carried me to my bed

How he held me down while he made love to me
Wondered out loud if I would be afraid of him
And it made me want him more
I’ve never fallen so fast
For anyone
Ever
I felt like I could have died in his arms
And it would have been right

How we sat on my bed and talked about our similar lives
I felt like he was my kind

How I cried on the floor when he left to go home to a sad household
How he took some part of me away when he said goodnight

This man who would be inside me
Who would kiss me in the empty parking lot of a public place
A mere two miles from both of our families
Kiss me and mark me forever
The blueprint for the kiss that almost got me in deep with a devil redhead

Nine years ago
I’ve never been the same

And it doesn’t end

I still see him in passing
I still see him in that parking lot

His body
and mouth
and voice
and self
Live less than a quarter of a mile away from my beating heart
Every day of the last four years

I do nothing
But my heart does
It stops on any given encounter in the supermarket or gas station

I felt like he loved me
I’ll never understand why

I felt so connected to him
Yet seeing him makes me silent
I walk right by
Holding tears and joy and memories and sorry

Nine years ago
He was drinking then
He was experimenting with men
Maybe I was a sparkly oasis in a sea of calamity
Maybe I was a soft and pretty place to land
But just a mirage
From disease
Maybe I was just as chaotic
But I didn’t feel that with him
I didn’t feel crazy
I just felt everything

We were supposed to have coffee when he got sober
We never did
I was trying to be sober too
To steer clear of the magnet that was him
Today I would go anywhere he asked

So we are “strangers”
We play that role
But nothing was ever stranger
Than having to deny
Over and over
That I know how he feels and breathes and sounds and tastes
And that my sick little heart still breaks
And aches to hear him
Or anyone so dear and lovely
call me Pretty Girl

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