That last image of you from college was enough to undo me right there. Parked nudging the curb of the lot, you sat alone in there, staring down between your naked toes, a fat camel, the trendy ones that year, the ones you turned me onto, squeezed between your clinched fingers, which hovered above the open window as if anticipating a need for escape.  Your eyes were distant, nodding against the broken rhythm of my voice, trying to make you see me.  We hadn’t spoken in close to two years, which seemed then like something made up, an improbable youth conjured from death and hope.

To be back there again, I thought, to that ecstatic newness of escape from family, the shock of lips I’d longed for.  The discovery of drunken autumns.

That would make things better.

A misunderstood melancholy boiled with the heat in that faded green Civic, and my inelegant words were scorched and mangled by it upon arrival.

The solipsism of me, unable to see in your shocking eyes that what you longed for was a return to a time before you knew me, when your father was still alive, and when guys like me never mattered enough for friendship, our insistence laughable and easily disposed of, like the ash-filled cups lying on your passenger floor.  I was a part of those meaningless things gathering around you, things you have since thankfully swept away.

It’s taken me awhile to understand the truth of what I was then, and why your distance was just another part of your strength in coping, and why, as I walked away from you that day, I felt as though I had never seen such sadness; such beauty.

Adam Cheshire


Adam is a writer living in Hillsborough, NC. His previous work appears in The Broken Plate, Boundoff, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

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