I avoid it like the plague. It is my way. Our way, really.
And yet somehow, some way, like gravity, we get pulled together. Objectively I can say that this universal pull is weighted evenly between the both of us. We are intertwined explicitly, probably forever.
Poetic shit like that.
Except our shit is less Love Jones and more Two Can Play that Game now. A ridiculous set of foolishness that you watch when nothing else is on, but you can’t help but shake your head at because you know it could be, should be, better than this.
It used to be.
“Keep it. It’s yours. Ours.”
“It will be there when I’m not.”
“That sounds strange.”
“You not being there.”
“I know, right?”
“It doesn’t seem right.”
“It isn’t. I’ve loved you almost as long as I’ve been alive.”
The mere demographics of the city, the specific niches in the city that our shared interests inhabit, almost guarantee that we will run into each other even if we avoid each other, like we used to try to do. We are still so inexplicably bonded that it seemed (and still seems) the universe was always conspiring against us, throwing us at each other full force, even when we were running as hard as we could in opposite directions.
“It’s crazy how I know you’re around before I know you’re around.”
We’d try, mostly in vain, to keep our distance. But it was inevitable that we’d see someone we once knew when we were We, and with the mere mention of the other’s name, that delicate illusion of an island would be shattered. If we were very unlucky, we would be caught completely unaware by our running into each other; we’d look across the room and catch eyes at the same moment. The hair on the back of my neck would stand up straight and I’d know he was coming long before he ever put his large hand on the small of my back, slightly lower than where someone would who isn’t as intimately familiar as he with my form.
Blood is hastening it’s descent to my head, pooling and whipping ferociously in my ears. I am gasping for air, the pressure on my head mounting with every inch I slide backwards. I feel like I am being choked but his hands aren’t around my throat. I feel his hands, large enough to hold an ample thigh in each one, radiating heat through my skin. He’s talking to me, no language I could write but we are beautifully fluent. He rides me like a melody, I’m singing the notes and he’s laying the track, each sound symphonic in a way unique to Us. His flute beckons me, pied piper to each vertebrae of my spine, arching indiscriminately, drawn to his melody, matching his beat.
We tumble, a blur of blue sheets and multi-hued limbs, his long legs supporting my own, my knees burning. I feel his hands on my hips, up my back, lifting the long hair matted to the center of my spine, twining it around his fingers, pulling. He’s wrapped around me, close, his teeth on my ear.
“Tell me you love me.”
I think we started reaching out to each other just to alleviate the tension, the surprise of not planning. We both enjoy control, the least of which should be within our power is the wrangling of the memories that are still too vivid, still too alive to all the senses to not be damn near debilitating.
It’s easy to forget, when we retreat to our separate corners of the world, that even though we are now just me and him, we used to be Us. It’s easy to shrug it off as childish dalliance. To shake our head at who the other has become in our absence. Intellectually, we know we are so far from Back Then.
“Sometimes I still think about us. I mean it’s been so long, but I do.”
“You don’t? Not ever?!”
“No. Not really.”
“It’s just… it was so long ago. I’ve moved on. I don’t see us together ever again. I don’t love you anymore.”
“I’m sorry… you what?!”
“I don’t love you anymore.“
I think I always thought that eventually we would be just memories. In many ways that has proven true, but, verily, we are part of a living history, an alive and breathing thing all unto itself. Impossibly, inexplicably, irrevocably intertwined.
We always come back to this.
“We were good together, once.”
“Whenever I tell anyone how long we were together, they can’t believe it.”
“Yeah me too.”
“It was good with us, right?”
“Yeah, it was. We were good together. Back then.
“Yeah. I think about it. I think about it alot actually.”
I am, just by the sheer nature of my being, the type of creature that likes to pretend that I burst fully formed on the scene, no past to define me, no memories to haunt me.
I’m a liar to myself, that way.
“I know some things that…we…need to talk about.”
“Ok. What do you want me to say?”
“You could say it isn’t like I think it is.”
“It wasn’t. Isn’t.”
“Or you could just tell me you love me.”
I recognize the inevitability of history, it’s inherent need therein to be remembered and documented and shared. To be dissected and decided and to eventually, hopefully, become a part of your emotional landscape that still creates a beautiful terrain that you are familiar with. A place that all those that travel to that land afterwards can easily navigate.
Or, you could be us.
“Shawty you what?!?!?”
“Oh, like you even surprised.”
“I mean, I’m not, but I am, you know? Shit.”
“It was so obvious to everybody else.”
“Yo’ ass didn’t know.”
“That’s real talk.”
“Well, goddamn. You taking this shit a little bit too far, ain’t you?”
“Is there anything wrong with yo’ ass.”
“Come on now. Let’s keep it trill; ain’t nothing the fuck wrong with me.”
It doesn’t matter the evasive maneuvers. We are always found because at the end of the day, we are always us, gravitationally attracted to each other, the polar ends of a magnet still complimentary. We still find each other, fit together like Back Then, even though we are no longer who we once were, are more than We were.
“I hear you’re in my city.”
“It’s more my city than it ever will be yours nigga.”
“You been gone too long.”
“Shut the fuck up with that bullshit.”
“Fine. I heard you in Our City.”
Yeah. Here we are.