Started a new job this week. Yesterday, as I was heading to grab something to eat at nearby deli, I stopped, dead in my tracks. My face turned white, my forehead cold. What’s wrong? I looked up. Right there in front of me, his hospital. I had no idea it was so close. Flashbacks of happier days, the entrance where I used to pick him up, a close-by restaurant where we had lunch, our legs intertwined under the table. Another lifetime.
We only dated for a couple of months, a nanosecond. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. It takes half the time you dated to get over someone, they say. It took me a good year.
I’ve known John for a long time. The moment I saw him I thought, “the perfect man.” Smart, breathtakingly handsome, an ER doctor who put George Clooney to shame. But he had a serious boyfriend, then he was a serious slut, or so the rumors said.
One night, an ordinary night, he walked into a bar. I looked up. A crush that’s never gone away. A nod, a hello, a quick chat. Then, out of the blue, I kissed him, almost mid-sentence. An impulse.
“I don’t want to make out with you here,” he said. “So we can either go to your place or mine.”
“But we can’t have sex.”
Smile, gone. Then I realize, he meant it as a compliment.
“I live close by, where are you?” I asked.
“Your place then.”
A trip in the dark, a hand on my knee. His eyes on the road, then on me, then the road again. Driving, him, me, and my uncontainable sense of glee.
A beautiful Victorian house. A fireplace. Four legs stumbling up the stairs. One step T-shirt, two step pants. A trail of cotton leading all the way to his big soft bed. Lips every which way, his beautiful body in my mouth. Naked limbs, the smell of his armpit, two perfectly round spheres, a beautiful dick, swinging side to side. Hands all over my body, my soul about to explode. A pleasure so intense, a feeling so strong. Is this what they mean when they say “mind-blowing sex?”
One earthquake, then another. The catching of breath, the sweat of his brow, the deep look in his eyes.
“I thought we weren’t going to have sex,” I said, my heart still doing summersaults in my chest.
“It’s your fault. I couldn’t help it.”
From that moment, two lives turned into one. Trips to northern woods every night after work. Coffee in bed, dinners in front of a burning fire. Foreign films, red wine, stories he’d never told another soul, unwrapped just for me. A high so incredible, not all the drugs in Colombia could ever induce. Calls wishing me a good day at work, frowns if I didn’t call back. A planned vacation, a moment of happiness. Clouds.
Then just like that, a feeling, a sixth sense. Red bulbs short-circuiting your heart. Something’s wrong. He doesn’t say it, but you know. It’s over.
At brunch, as the food is about to arrive, you ask that question, the one you know will end it.
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing, everything’s fine.”
“It’s just that I have a lot on my plate right now”
You pick up your jacket. You’ve heard this speech before. Don’t want to obsess over the details later.
“Where are you going?”
A kiss on his forehead, a walk out the restaurant. No, don’t look back. Orpheus leaving Hades without Eurydice.
A call the next day. Nope, I didn’t answer. I didn’t return any of his calls.
“Too much on his plate.”
A pain so strong I couldn't breathe. A long period of grief. The fear of never meeting someone who could make my heart jump out of my chest. Dates where all you want to do is kill him for making you go through these freak-show moments.
A year later, a walk to a deli. His hospital. My heart still remembers. It was only a nanosecond.