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Gap Year in Vermont

The rainy Monday

By Omotara JamesPublished 2 years ago 2 min read
Gap Year in Vermont
Photo by reda rachdi on Unsplash

The rainy Monday we met, I walked in, drenched

and you gave me a towel and your shirt. I didn't know

what I wanted, so we sat down and talked about it.

Talked about art plays, music, food. You bought me

a coffee and pizza and asked me what I was doing

in your small town. That fall you took me everywhere.

On foliage trains, bowling, introduce me to your friends.

You didn't make a big deal about it when I sat next to you

in the circle but didn't take a hit. I thought this is what

it feels like to be loved. Protected, maybe slightly adored.

You were the kind of artist who wanted to make other people

happy, a rarity. A helping artist. You weren't at home in your

own discomfort. An exile of your own body, you were beautiful

like the boyfriends in teenage dramas are beautiful. Surrounded

by and oblivious to your own beauty. Even your name, Joshua,

was a reminder of what sensuality could be. Was it any wonder

you married young and had a baby, a little girl. I think of her,

missing you, the absence of your body like a charcoal contour

drawing, never letting up. Even my teenage heart beat faster

when you walked into a room, curls first, face like a dart board,

anyone with a pulse would aim for. I wanted to stay with you.

You told me not to put down roots, to go back home and finish

school. I asked why business was slow, you said it wasn't unusual

—offseason in a tourist town. When you’d drop me home, you

made sure I got inside before you turned around. I knew I'd be gone

by summer, but figured I'd have a place to stay next time I came

to town. On my birthday you gave me a T shirt from the shop

and offered me a free tattoo. I said you can't afford to do that. I should

have just said, Thank you. I should have stayed and spent time with you.

Instead, I went home and did what Pisces do. Obsessed about the ones

who do not love me, about how long since it's been since I spoke

to my mom. A week went by so quickly, when I opened the paper and

saw your name beneath the photo of the tattoo parlour where you

locked up one last time before shooting yourself in the mouth.

A symbolism I can't yet unpack. We spent so many of your last days

together but in the end I was no one. Not your wife. Not your child.

Not your sister. I left that tourist town a couple months later. It's been

years and years since we shared a soda or anything and it still feels too soon

to go back.

love poems

About the Creator

Omotara James

Omotara James is the author of “Song of My Softening,” from Alice James Books. A multidisciplinary artist, she creates as a means to preserve joy, confront the past and free herself of it.

Follow @omotarajames & inquire at omotarajames.com

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