you remember how unbearably hot it was when we finally met in person? The temperature must’ve reached 104 degrees before it hit noon. You installed a rusty old air conditioner you borrowed from your sister so we could comfortably take turns being the little spoon? I remember you nearly dropped it out the window of your brownstone, and I chuckled at your clumsiness. I hate that, when I think about it, I still find it endearing.
Do you remember waking up one morning with your hands stuck to the insides of my dewy, sun-kissed thighs? ’Cause even with the old cooling box working overtime, we still woke up in a puddle of our sweat. But we lay there, blissfully damp, as I stared up at your white tin ceiling. Your salt-and-pepper head resting on my bare chest. You listened to my heartbeat and told me about that time, in high school, when you caught a glimpse of your mother kissing another man at your family beach house. And that other time, in college, when your best friend tragically took her own life, and how you’ve never been quite the same since. And how you struggle with ADHD, you’re just a “shitty rich kid,” ashamed that your passport displays the name “Junior,” but goddamn, at least Daddy’s credit card gave you friends growing up. Do you remember making love to me twice that day? You sure came hard.
And after being tangled up in me, do you remember how you said you’ve never felt so comfortable around someone? That you felt like a nudist around me? How you were addicted to me? “It is so easy being with you.” I made you laugh. That stupid, signature, laugh your fans adore. And later that day, while walking through Prospect Park under the glaring sun, your arm was held so tightly around my waist, I swear my legs could’ve fallen asleep at any moment. But I trusted you’d carry me the rest of the way if they did.
I trusted you.
Do you remember stopping at a bodega to get lemonade, and even though it wasn’t dusk yet, we could hear the crack of fireworks being set off by some nearby kids? That night we sat by the East River under an explosive display of capitalism. Only it wasn’t as awful as I expected it to be. There was something so deliciously human about how everyone around us was desperately trying to capture the glittering sky on their camera phones. Those cursed tiny black mirrors—never really doing this life justice. But we just sat there quietly in the humidity of Brooklyn. Observing the crowds and savoring the moment before I had to fly home the next day. Do you remember occasionally looking down at me and smiling? I remember how gentle your mouth felt against my sticky forehead, and you telling me how you loved the way I “always smell like a touch of cigarettes and girl.” You thought it was hot.
And when we shared a smoke outside that Persian restaurant on our way back to your place, and I asked you if you wanted to be a parent someday, do you remember sharing with me? That sometimes you think you want to have children just to prove that you don’t have to hit them? “You can just love them,” you said softly. Well, you wouldn’t remember this, but, in that moment, my once-guarded heart fell right out of my chest, and I wanted so badly to give it to you hand over fist, but somewhere along the way, I dropped it.
Don’t you remember? That was the last night we spent together. The next morning, you woke up in a panic because you’d slept through your alarm after our marathon of rolling in cotton sheets. You were running late for work and kissed me goodbye with your always almost too-wet lips on your way out. Then you stared at me deeply with that look someone gets when they’re about to devour a hamburger and said you’d come visit soon. It was disarming. I believed it.
Remember when I said I appreciate transparency in a relationship? Well, I know specters are supposedly see-through and all, but ghosting me isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
And like all good ghosts, you’ve tried to haunt me. But baby? I’ve got sage.