i had first read his poem in a cold, dank room in the middle of a miserable building. cockroaches scuttled across the floor with a sense of urgency but no real direction, and i empathized with them. the air in the room was musty and stale, reminiscent of ancient mothballs and attic-bound stuffed animals. but despite all of this, i had fallen in love in that room and so i recall it fondly.
the words have stayed with me over the last few years, even though The Author has long left my life. they have sat with me, a strange call to a person i once was but can barely remember - the kind of person that someone writes poetry about. good poetry. hemmingway-esque poetry that tugs at sadness and nostalgia and deep, unencumbered love all at once. i was the kind of person that inspired poetry. i was that, once.
too much time has passed since i was that person. bit by bit, that persona dissolved, flaking away slowly until i became a peculiar version of myself. plump with years of experience - fat with the weight of the world, but emaciated emotionally - starving for the affection i once elicited from an inspired young writer, The Author i once knew.
i often consider the path i've made with my haphazard footsteps, trailing and chasing the wrong kinds of friends, men, dreams. it's hard to say where i've even been, my memory a fog of the last few years since that poem. we don't talk anymore. we don't write. we don't acknowledge the existence of the other any longer, not since the end that we whispered that day.
for the first time, i remember the poem, and think less of The Author. i think more of this newfound friend i'd wronged. our blossoming friendship, crippled too soon by a moment of weakness, like a flower trodden by the boots of a careless gardener. i, unhappy with the hollowness growing inside me, and he, denying the irreversible weathering of a relationship taken one step too far. the circumstances gave pause, as is customarily the "right thing to do" in these instances, but it feels so desperately wrong that it consumes me, and so here i write.
my overreaction - the consequence of a softened heart, touched with a level of infatuation not seen since The Author. inexplicable and all-too-soon, i focused on filling my emptiness with his warmth. the glow of alcohol - chugged, not sipped - illuminated each of us across six inches of tense, magnetic space. eyes perpetually fixed on his single raised brow, i let myself become enamored by an idea i'd thought i'd never again bring to life. i silenced his mouth with my own and ruined it all.
now my mind travels to the poem, the tiny wreckage of our friendship sinking to the base of my brain. and i want to resurface, greedily gulp in the fresh air of a new start, to begin again. the girl i once was claws at my ribcage, rattling from within my chest, asking me to try again. but she is vain with the hope of a love that can never take shape, and my fear is what keeps me drowning in the loss - the loss of potential love, wrought with a possibility that i can no longer have.
i vow to not let more years pass, as the-girl-i-no-longer-am fights to be heard. i wrap my fingers around the bit of promise i saw only weeks ago, forget The Author who spoke the words i call by heart, and free my old self. to be the person living a hemmingway-esque dream. the person who inspires again. who remembers the accidental arch of an eyebrow as the most beautiful thing. the person who finds love in the most unlikely places.