Well, I’ve been waiting for this day to come for quite a while.
You haven’t been the Knight — my Knight — for a long, long time now. It’s been more than a year since we last spoke, and that was unpleasant at best. But I have trouble letting you go. I think of you often. And I hate it.
I check in on you, look at the pictures from your gigs, the paintings you’re filling our old apartment with. I walk past the apartment sometimes, look at the flowers you have planted in the box and remember our trip to Gethsemane to buy the first ones we put there. Sometimes your car is parked in your favorite spot. It alarms me that I still have your phone and license plate numbers memorized, but then, I’ve always done that.
Everyone knows I check in on you, so it’s not like I’m revealing some huge secret here in public. Everything is public for me. It always has been — you loved and hated that, I think.
Last week, I saw that your father had died. It was months ago, and though I knew he was sick, I had no idea. I saw a few recent photos of the girls on your sister’s Facebook page; they’re getting so big. They were fantastic — I loved knowing them. It reopens a wound I sometimes forget I have when I realize how far removed I am from your life now, your joy and your pain. I don’t understand why it hurts so badly.
You were kind of awful sometimes. We were kind of awful — a lot of the time.
And yet: Every time I come to Starbucks, I sit at my table armed with the hopeless hope that you’ll walk in. And this morning, you did. You were with another woman, and you looked like your version of happy. Always vaguely troubled, but smiling just the same. She put her hand on the small of your back, a guitar strapped to her own back, and leaned into you while you waited together to order your drinks.
She looks like you: relaxed, artsy, not too high maintenance. I hope you’re still playing as much as you did when you finally let yourself take the rock-star asshole thing back up. It looked good on you. (That awful mustache did not. If you ever read this, which I doubt you will…if I see that happen again, even in a photograph, I will come to your house with a razor and take care of the abomination for you. In your sleep.)
I hope seeing you like this means that you’ve moved on better than I have. I hope that someday you’ll look at me, and your gaze will be absent of the contempt I’m so used to. Maybe if you’re happy — really happy — we can actually be friends someday. Which is all I ever wanted when we broke up. You are so wise and profound and beautifully broken, and I miss your blue eyes and your biting wit. The way you bare your crooked teeth when you laugh. I miss your music and your collection of books and CDs.
I got a turntable a few months ago…I think of you every time I see it, even though it was another wonderful, giving man who helped me haul it away from my friend’s house and up the three flights of stairs to my apartment.
Memories of you are infused in far too many of my present life. Get out of my brain. Please stay. I hate you. I love you.
I’m so happy to see you — looking happy, even if it’s with someone else. No, especially because it’s with someone else.
It gives me hope for myself.
Love always, like it or not,