I’m having trouble telling this story.
It’s one that he already knows. I start and stop. Stuttering and tripping over the uncomfortable multisyllabic truths.
He interrupts — “you’ve met someone”
Am I that transparent? Does he know me that well? Can we see through each other like strips of cellophane? Like ice?
It’s hot even in October but I get goosebumps.
He brought pumpkins to carve. Has a weird goatee thing going on. I look anywhere but his eyes.
My roommate comes home briefly before heading out to a Halloween party. We can barely talk the same way anymore.
How do I explain to him that this new thing is more permanent. I hate seeing him hurt. I hate doing this. We’ve done this before.
He did the same thing to me month ago. Long pauses between sentences. Trying to speak without saying anything.
Why did we fall apart? He’s great, just not what I need now.
I need something fresh, new. I’m new. This city has life and adventure and I can’t be what I used to be. I know what I don’t want but I don’t know what I will become.
He asks good questions. Holds my hand. Both of us cry. We go outside to break pumpkins.
He brought a little axe. Tells me that they tried to wrap it in Kevlar and light it on fire. Seems like both of us have been building lives apart. I hope he’s not lying when he says he has friends to lean on now.
I just got here and I want to make a new home. How can you break up if you weren’t together?
I wish I knew what happens next. Small sad smiles, misheard phone calls, longer spaces between messages.
It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just… different now. We’re different now.
It’s not goodbye. It’s never goodbye with him.
At the end of each phone call, we listen across the 110 and whisper: “talk to you always"