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Gone

Published: October 21, 2005
Section: Arts, Etc.


We shared a moment, once. Im sure of it. Once upon a time, as the stories say. But if there ever was such a moment its long since vanished into the wind. Its spiraled away into the heavens to be watched by angels, because here we are, you and me, standing in the kitchen staring at each other, and all I see in your eyes is revulsion. Contempt. Scorn. You look as though you want me to die and disappear into the floor. I cant see any of the light that once drew me into your heart and into your head. It seems like that happened a lifetime in the past, or maybe it was only three minutes ago. I cant remember now, because Im blinded by your hate. Its gutting me. It makes me want to scream. But I wont scream. I cant let that happen, because if it does I wont be able to stop. Torrents of words will stream out, confessions, lies, truth, prose, tales from yesterday, anything to make you put away the steel thats pouring out of you. Anything to make you stop stepping towards the door. I cant believe that its come to this. Im stuck in a struggle for our future. I can hear the sound of the T.V. that we left on in the living room, and feel the thump of the neighbors stereo through the wall.

And I can see you. Youre trying to walk out.

I know, Im clinging. You always say that. You always say that Im too attached, that Im too intent. But Ive never understood your sense of inevitability, your insistence that all things have to end and that we should let them meet that end with dignity and faith. Youve always condemned us to this parting, so of course it was bound to happen. When you want something badly enough, it tends to become reality. Well, in my reality weve moved far enough that your right hand is on the doorknob, but your opposite wrist is firmly clenched between my fingers. The suitcase youre carrying is striking my knee, and youre screaming that if I dont let go then Ill never see you again. Odd, but you seem to be saying that by releasing you, Id be guaranteeing your return. But I know it doesnt work like that. The heart doesnt compose itself in contradictions, or equal and opposite reactions. If I free your hand, youll be no more than gone. The simple and finite term – gone. Not here. Vanished. But I need to get in my last plea. I need to make one final bid that might convince you to stay.

And you laugh. You laugh as I empty my heart to you, as I wrench my chest into my throat, onto my tongue, and out of my mouth. You say that you find it amusing, cute, but altogether pathetic. You say that I should have rehearsed my speech a few more times, just to hear how weak I sound, or maybe said it while standing in front of a mirror so that I would see how feeble, how pitiable, and how wretched I look. That smirk on your face makes me wonder why Im carrying on. It makes me wonder why Im dropping myself into your hands, if youre only going to ball me up and fling me away like a garbage bag into an alley.

And now I find myself down on my knees, head hanging, staring at the open door, and I can see the backs of your sneakers as you stroll down the walkway to where your car is parked. Youre swaying your hips the same way that you did on the day that I met you. In fact, I think that you have more swagger now, more swing. Youre bolder. Defiant, almost. But Im deflated. I hear the sound of the car door closing, the engine coming to life. Headlights slice through the open doorway and straight into my eyes. By the time my vision returns your car is off down the road, and I havent moved. Im abandoned. Lost. Left behind for something, or maybe left behind for nothing. Im struck by the realization that you might have chosen that nothing over me. The something that wed found here was less appealing than the possibility of finding emptiness out there.

Eventually, I realize that I have to stand, so I tear my knees from the ground, place my heels down firmly, and let the blood drain back into my toes. They had fallen asleep without my noticing, but now theyre alive again. And I realize that their life means that I can follow you. I can chase you down. Then, when Ive made up the distance, Ill entice you to come back. Youll turn your car around, drive it home, put it into park, and everything will be as it once was. We can forget this little charade, this hiccough, this speed-bump in our lives. So I walk out the door, intent on following your footsteps.

But you didnt leave any footsteps. Just an empty parking space, and Orion staring down at me from the night sky while he fires arrows into space. Hes the only one that could find you now. Youve disappeared beyond my sight. Youre gone.