Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Last Time

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Most people don't know when it's the last time. For most of us, change is abrupt. We don't know that the last time is coming, or that these moments are finite. We don't know it's time to write the ending, or that we'll try to rewrite it's final word.

I think our stories are some of my favourites to tell. I write about you more than the rest, because you have an equal opportunity to become the hero or villain of the story. I never quite know which one you'll be until the very end. Usually, my words tip the scales in your favour.

For a time, there had been radio silence between us. There were different people and other bodies, and there were times I blamed you for my behaviour. You didn't know this, of course. Our dalliance came full circle a year after it began, and I threw myself away soon after.

We've seen each other since, and we live by our own rules of civility. We know we are padlocked by the history between us, tied up with good intentions. Our delinquency has it's own evolution.

We are conditioned to talk in codes and we know that we are the champions of our own language. Words are unsaid and understood. We share intel like postcards from another life, another "wish you were here" moment sent through transmissions. We know we are getting older, and that times have changed as much as we have. We know the space between us will grow, and I know we'll soon be forgotten. Probably by you, because I am the one with a penchant for retelling the past. 

You see, I have to remember, because there's a rule that insists that writers never forget. We have to write about things that happened a million years ago, it's just the way it is. Frankly, if I didn't explore my past I wouldn't have all that much to write about.
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That is how I remember that it ended in an October. I know exactly when, but these details are ours to keep.

I couldn't predict what we were about to become that day. I didn't know that our time was disposable, or that I'd trade intimacy for friendship. For us, there is only history. I didn't know I could miss you, or that I would.

That day was bright, and marked with the harsh silver of thin clouds. I wore something white and blue. My hair was tangled and my lipstick was a deep shade of pink. I made tea for us in cheap white mugs, because I'd already finished the wine.

There are things I remember about that day. I remember it was colder with you than it was outside. I remember it was lonely, and that my cheeks were stamped with the frustrations of salt water and mascara. I remember thinking that it was what I deserved. They told me you were my manipulator, but in the end I knew that I had manipulated myself.

Since then, I've been to the places we were and I've been ambushed by deja vu. I've relived those moments- even those that were faded, the ones muted like old Polaroids. Sometimes when I remember, I try to write about it. I try to use the words we duelled, I try to delineate the look in your eye or the nerves in my laugh.

I try.

Instead, I dig my pen into paper and pull it apart.

I don't know if I'm angry, or relieved that I can't confine you to sentences and endings.

These words will never be enough.

I've jumped in and out of history, and I've hunted for a closing line. I've searched for closure in the places where the story of us began. I've sat in the places we were before, and felt a draft creep through my hair and settle on the back of my neck. There were times when I turned and looked for you. As I've heard doors open, I've felt the shiver of ghosts. In that moment, I know that I've lost. You were always the winner of the game we played, and it was always that way.

The other times we had spent together had kept me still. You gave me memories that would be my remedy, you left me with half smirks and teachings of who I should be. I'm grateful for the things you gave me, and for all that you didn't.
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That last time left me to pick you apart. It made me plead and beg and hope that this wasn't a waste. It had to mean more than skin and cries for attention. I hoped you remembered more than ink and red cups in November. I hoped it was more than egos and security blankets. All I wanted was for you to remember.

There are certain things I'll always associate with you. Such silly things like mint cocktail dresses in December, the old purse that still holds your business card, and the word "liaison". Like I said, writers don't forget.

The last time was different to the rest. It was planned, meticulous but thoughtless. You saw no need to hang around, and you made your exit. Things changed when I didn't feel the goodbye. This goodbye was quick, like a sharp scratch. You picked up your keys, and you walked away as I sunk behind the door. You told me later that our affair was done, and that it was for the best. This was just a phase.

I was fairly used to your distance by then. I knew your habits, your disinterest and your sharpness. I didn't know that I would cleanse myself of you, and that I would stop waiting. We had been conjoined by magnets and unfinished business. We are not what we were, and words will never bring me back to you.

That was the first time you hurt me, and the last time you ever would. Over three years have passed, and this won't be the last time you remember it. I promise that when you forget, those first days of October will belong to you.

Sometimes I need to take five minutes to remember, and then I take another five minutes to forget.