You’re looking at me. I didn’t shave that morning and you tell me I’m letting myself go. I grunt. I want you to tell me something I don’t know. I want us to talk about the bitter-sweet accident that is us, still, and how we, I, stumbled and fell, and how there was a night way back when the phone didn’t ring and you didn’t leave me, that you were brave when everything looked dark.
I made a mistake. There are more eloquent ways to say this, but that’s all it is. I deserve nothing. It’s just that I see that old place, I see him and her, see us, I hear the night, feel the glass in my hand, smell jasmine, and look across at you and thank everything there is and ever was that you paused, that you changed your mind.
There is nothing I can say right now. Something is close to dying, and I know that if you leave it’s forever. Please breathe, slow down, wait.
You were the girl I loved when we were twelve. I waited on the hot copper roof of the church opposite, watching for your parents leaving. We would play Paul Anka and Ricky Valance 45s over and over on your Dansette. They cost 6s/8d, three for a pound. I wanted to tell you, Laura, that I loved you, but my chest was filled with terror and you were perfect, perfect, perfect.
Do you remember that man who had the two Great Danes? He walked them every day, always on their leads. They want to run but their hearts are too small - those big, beautiful dogs, staying close, imagining they were loved, being kept from killing themselves with joy. I know it’s not an excuse.