I stood there. Stark still. In what was probably the exact same spot, though I have no way to tell. Because there are no pictures. Just memories that are still far too sharp despite me trying my damnedest to forget.
I took it all in. The second line that was part of a wedding processional. The girl from Scores walking down Bourbon in 6 inch heels and G-string, and nothing else. The older couple sneaking kisses beneath a neon sign advertising hand grenades. The cop, far too attractive for my own good, standing vigil on the corner. My eyes take it all in and I store it in the file folders of my mind.
But, my heart. In my heart it is 2007. And I am standing in this same spot, on this same street, but this time not alone. I am a We, my face nuzzled to the humid skin on his neck, sipping the drink he is holding for me and then lifting my face to his to find his mouth. Hooking my chin over his shoulder as he pulls me closer with a firm hand on my butt and whispering in his ear, “This could be our life.” Half promising, half asking, hopeful he will agree to be in this, forever, with me. That maybe this weekend is enough of a glimpse into the life we could build together that he will be as invested in it as I am. That he will want to occupy this space as Us, in an eternal kind of way. And deep down below all of that, even more quiet than my whispered words, a plea that he won’t leave me this way, hopeful and dizzy in love, wanting him.
A girl in a veil and a t-shirt that says “bride” bumps me out of my reverie. She apologizes profusely, and I can only smile what I hope is a warm smile that doesn’t betray the fact that I am about to burst into tears.
I watch her walk away, willing myself to, for once, not be distracted from what I am feeling.
I stand there, on Bourbon, my eyes stinging and raking my hands through my hair, from forehead to neck, as I do when I am stressed. And for the first time in four years, I let myself just feel it.
The weight of the disappointment. The sharpness of the heartbreak. The white hot fury at the waste of it all. The coldness of the cynicism. The melancholy of the loneliness. The resignation. All of it.
And I am ok.
This is not 2007. This is now. This is just a street. And this is still a city I love. And I am ok.
My heart, finally moved from back then, sends up a prayer to whoever is listening that this not be forever. That I find that feeling again. That this time it be healthy, happy, ever after.
And I believe someone is listening.