July 29, 2008

I dreamed that you sent me a suitcase full of love letters. In them you said you were sorry, that you had made a mistake, that you wanted to live with me in Paris or Berlin, somewhere new, and we would be happy. You said you would never mention her name again. The letters smelled like cologne, but not one that I recognized you ever wearing. They were passionate, convincing. It was the best dream I’ve ever had. In the dream, I opened each envelope slowly, savoring the seconds before I read more declarations of fidelity.

This morning I woke up. I remembered the dream and I felt like crying, but didn’t have the energy. I wasn’t rested. Your side of the bed was still sunken in where you used to sleep, the result of your heavy frame and the poor quality of the mattress, and I hated waking up to that empty space. Especially today, after that dream.

You’ve been gone for five months and I understand you’re not coming back. Now I see why you never wanted to get married. “Why do we need a piece of paper to prove we love each other?” you would say. But really, not being married made it easier to discard me, to convince yourself that you had no obligations to me even though I had lived with you for eight years, I had folded your clothes and fed your cat, driven you to work every morning and picked you up every night.

You spent those eight years looking for a way out, I knew now. You told me on the phone, the last time I ever heard your voice, “This just feels right.” Had those eight years all felt wrong?


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