He is here, thirty minutes late. I’m surprised he even showed up at all. He was always late that’s not surprising. But he can come up with an excuse at 9 pm when I had been waiting for an hour, dressed and hungry. Or at 7 am while I’m waiting at the airport, excited for a kiss, a hug, but ‘Babe I have a work emergency.’ What emergency? He owns an importing business. One night his battery died and so he did not show up. I was worried sick calling his friends afraid he was dead in a ditch. He called the next day, ‘why are you overreacting?’
Now he’s here.
He is in my new home city, Melbourne. He did not come for me. He is here for the Tennis but could spare an hour for coffee, now half an hour. As usual, I am an afterthought and as usual, I let myself be his afterthought. For six years this was our story, I was an invisible blob in the backdrop of his vibrant life. He ran a successful business, travelled the world, played semi-professional soccer and had a bustling social life. But I was never invited to his world. We created another world apart from his, no intersection. I met a handful of his friends but never his family, ‘no, no, no, you’re not Italian.’ Dates are ‘if’ he has time and time was what I craved the most. I settled for crumbs. I loved him and isn’t that what you did for love?
I should have left long ago. There was no ring, no kids, no joint account. Nothing holding me back but a small desperate hope it will be better this time. Love and possibility outweighed the pain. My god was it painful. He too did not need to stay. After cruel words and ultimatums, he could have just driven far far away, never to return. But he always drives just far enough, turns right around and stands in front of me, tail between legs ready to do it all again.
And then every breakup would go on longer and every reunion would become less hopeful. The highs became fewer and fewer. The lows became dull and achy because that same spot has been hit over and over again. There was no fresh pain, just a throb that taunts you for all your wrong choices. But oh how do I live without him?
Then one day I had the chance to move to a different city. My fresh start.
And now he’s here, charming and confident, threatening to make me question everything.
We sit by the window overlooking Flinders Lane. He asks me what coffee I wanted. Six years and he doesn’t know my coffee order. His eyes look tired and we stare more than we talk. When you have emptied your guts and spewed venom mixed with love and longing and despair, what more is there to say? We talk about my move, we talk about tennis. His voice is comforting, and we didn’t know what to do with our hands.
We are strangers who know the best and the worst in each other. We have love or some form of it but no good reason to say or show it. We are oxymorons and oh how moronic we were. Stupid and foolish and giddy and in love. And completely wrong for each other.
We lock eyes and smile. I wonder when I would see him again. And I know it is maybe never.