what­ever that was

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Contents -

Mak­ing peace with a prewrit­ten end­ing.

The books you gave me are still in my bed­room. Markus Zusak’s I Am the Mes­sen­ger. Randy Pausch’s The Last Lec­ture. Neil Gaiman’s

Frag­ile Things. My best friend of­fered to take them out of my hands, but they fill the gaps in my shelf per­fectly. They get to stay.

The Tup­per­wares you used to send me home­made cook­ies in are stacked neatly in my pantry. Your mom’s prob­a­bly won­der­ing where they went. Hind­sight is slap­ping my wrist. I should have known there was a rea­son you didn’t in­tro­duce me to her, or any­body. Or why we never went out dur­ing the day. Or why you tip­toed around the word “us.”

The roses you gave me on our first date are brown and brit­tle now. I was clean­ing my room one day and found them un­der my bed. “What the hell is that?” asked my sis­ter, not look­ing up from her lap­top. “Of­fice Christ­mas party,” I lied, as the af­ter­taste of that first kiss came rush­ing back. Re­mem­ber that? You cut­ting me off mid-sen­tence? It was so long ago, it’s like it never hap­pened. You, the girl ev­ery­body had a crush on, and me, the girl whose name ev­ery­body mis­pro­nounced. Who’d have thought?

I still lis­ten to record­ings of you reading me po­etry. You liked the beat­niks—gins­berg, Ker­ouac, Bur­roughs—your voice was like a knife run­ning along their lines to slice them open, me­thod­i­cally, sur­gi­cally. “We are great writ­ers on the same dread­ful type- writer,” you be­gan. “In my dreams you walk drip­ping from a sea-jour­ney in tears to the door of my cot­tage...”

You live in my fa­vorite city in the world, but where I have never been. Last year, a box filled with Broad­way mer­chan­dise came in the mail. I re­mem­ber burst­ing into tears in front of the fedex guy. “You are ridicu­lous and I’m send­ing th­ese back!” I said over the phone. “Happy grad­u­a­tion, sweet­heart,” you replied.

All that’s left of you are things, Les­ley. But only one of us got to start over. While you stroke a brush across a clean Man­hat­tan can­vas, I wrap Manila around me like a blan­ket I’ve had for years. I’ve out­grown it, so the chill comes through and keeps me from fall­ing asleep. I won­der if your bed is warm.

There’s only a fi­nite amount of time you get to talk about get­ting your heart bro­ken be­fore your friends be­gin to tune you out. There’s only so much you can say about some­body be­fore you catch your­self repris­ing old words. That’s your sig­nal to get on with it. “I wish we had more pages to write this story on. I still have para­graphs left in me for you,” were the last words you said be­fore you left. But I woke up one morn­ing and re­al­ized I no longer wanted to write about you. How do you catch up to some­body who’s al­ready three chap­ters ahead? so here’s where I make peace with our prewrit­ten end­ing. When we see each other again, I hope we’re friendly and fa­mil­iar. But I also hope enough time has passed that we can em­brace and then, in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, go on walking.

Part 4 of 4.

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