And the sun will keep rising

He died on Wednesday, late at night. Heart attack, completely unexpected. It was the bacon, maybe. He smoked sometimes, a lot when he was younger, almost every time he drank. Did he have a stressful life? (who didn’t?)

His wife woke up with the noise and called 911, but he was dead before they got to the hospital. Her older brother helped her with the paperwork, her mother took their daughter for the night, her younger sister organized the funeral: ordered the lilies, found a caterer, offered her house. They met at the cemetery early in the morning. His wife cried as her brother hugged her and the daughter held her hand. A few teenagers who knew the girl from school sat silently in the back. Old friends from college looked at each other fondly, suddenly reminded of how much the missed the people who were once the closest. His sister cried desperately as her husband tried to control their son, who followed the woman’s lead even though he was too young to know why. Distant cousins regretted not going to his last birthday. His wife saw his body one last time, watched him be put down where he’d lay forever, and she felt as if she was dead herself.

They got in the limo, the empty space and 16 minutes all filled with crying and a sharp, painful lack of words. The house smelled like food so good it didn’t belong on such a sad occasion. They ate and tried to tell stories without acknowledging how depressing it was, and then night came and people went to their houses and she paid the caterer and was taken home. She told her daughter goodnight, and they slept.

She felt as if she was dead herself, but here is the thing: she woke up the next day. Her heart was still beating, and the sun was shining because it didn’t know anything was wrong.

The college friends went home to their families, secretly happy they weren’t the ones who, statistically, would have to die young. The distant cousins took their long drives back to their houses and promised they would go to more birthdays, but when the day comes there will be so much traffic or a friend’s dinner party or they’ll be feeling sick, so let’s leave it for next year. The baby cried all night and will cry for a few more days until his mother stops, and then she will, and he’ll grow up and understand and pretend to miss the uncle he doesn’t remember. The caterers packed their things and went for a drink after work, because it’s Thursday and Thursday is almost Friday. The owner of the flower shop used the money from the lilies to buy her boyfriend a late birthday gift.

The man’s daughter cried all night, skipped school the next day and then she will skip Monday and the next and the next and the next, and then she will wake up and put her uniform on and take the bus. She’ll have first kisses and last kisses, she will go to college and find a job, she will be let go and go broke, she’ll get married and cry because her dad can’t walk her down the aisle, she’ll have a baby that carries one-fourth of the man around the world and adopt a dog; she’ll keep breathing (until she doesn’t).

His wife will cry for days straight and then a little every day for months, until one day she won’t. She will go back to her job after a couple weeks and go back to actually doing a good job after a couple of months. She will be caught by surprise by a piece of clothing or a smell or a song sometimes, and cry until she feels her lungs dry, but in between these moments there will be good movies and delicious meals and a funny joke and PTA meetings and long phone calls and beautiful weddings and a unexpected visit and her grandson being born and days so, so happy that they become a little sad because he isn’t there to share it with her.

The sun will keep rising every morning, as if it doesn’t know anything is wrong.

They will hurt and cry and miss, but they are as alive as he is dead, and the world is too big to stop when we request it. He is gone, and that is so much for so many people, but for the world it’s nothing at all.

The sun will keep rising, and they will keep breathing.

There is too much life, even around his death.

His wife will feel as if she’s dead herself.

But no.

She’s alive.

And the sun will keep rising.

A good man

“I like him”, I say, in a whisper too low, almost like I don’t want him to hear.

I look down at my worn out blue converse, waiting for my father to say anything at all. Nothing. Only silence, painful silence, like a cold hand wrapped around my neck tight and tighter until I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

I wait for maybe two minutes that feel like two lifetimes, and still nothing. The silence is poison in my blood, killing me over and over every second that goes by. So I look up, because I think I rather he just kill me once and for all. I wait for the yelling, the hateful crying, the slap on the face or all of it in just a look.

Nothing.

“Okay.”, he says blandly, like I just told him I’m going to walk the dog or I have extra practice on Saturday. He says it like he does on the breakfast table, sipping his coffee, eyes still reading the paper. He says it like it’s not a big deal at all, even though I know and have always known it is. It is not “okay” for him.

I try to look into his eyes, but fail, so I look everywhere else. From the empty coat rack to the stairs behind him to the outline of the couch to the television, still on, and he still has not said anything else.

“Dad.” The words sounds like a plea, my way to beg for him to please say anything else, punch me in the face, say you love me or say you are ashamed I am your son, say something or anything.

“You like him.” He nods at the door behind me as he says the last word, even though by now Ian is long gone. I wish he weren’t. I wish he was here to see me finally say these words, because he would be so proud. He would say I’m brave and amazing and maybe I wouldn’t be so alone right now.

“Yes.” My voice sounds small. It makes me feel two inches tall, as if he could just step on me and go back to the couch to watch the movie he paused to say hi and shake hands with my friend. He was excited to meet him. “Good thing you made friends with a man, son. I know you get along with girls best, but comes an age in a man’s life he needs a brother.”, he said this morning, when I told him Ian was coming over.

More silence, more poison, and I am afraid I will shrink until I no longer exist. “Yes, dad, I like him.” I find in me the courage to look at him right in the eye. I will not let myself be small, and despite everything I do not want to stop existing.

“Okay.” He says again, though now it sounds more like he is just thinking, wondering what to say next. It occurs to me that maybe, like me, he simply has no idea.

“Is it? Okay?” I just want to run out the door or upstairs to my room or to the other side of the world. I want this to be over, and I would rather he says it now all at once than to keep being poisoned by the silence.

“No.”, he says almost immediately, finally no infinite silence in between our words. For something so expected, it hurts me more than I thought it would. “You know me, son. I’m not going to stand here, look into you eyes and say it is okay. I am no liar. I am a man and a man doesn’t lie. That said, I have taught you to be a man too. And you are my son. I know you as you know me, and I know you are the man I have taught you to be. You are good and you are honest. Standing here and saying the truth to me, that is proof enough. So I’m not going to lie to you or say I can change, but I will say that I will try, because you are my son and you are a good man. And I am proud of you.”

A tear falls down my face. I feel it, the warm drop, tickling my cheek all the way to my neck. I don’t clean it. I let it fall, looking my father into his eyes. Dark brown, a small hint of caramel, just like mine. I feel a quiet kind of happiness. It’s not the best thing he could have said; he could have smiled and hugged me and said it doesn’t make a difference. But I am still happier than I thought I would be, both because he is my father, proud of me, and because it feels better than I could have possibly imagined to finally say the words. I wait for him to break the eye contact, and I think that, secretly, I wait for him to tell me he loves me. I think I have been waiting for him to say it since the door closed behind me.

He doesn’t. He looks at me and I think that if it was possible to read eyes, his would have said he loves me. But there are no words, no smile, no hug. Nothing, except a hint of what his eyes may be saying. But it’s okay. It’s okay because my father is a good man, an honest man, but he is not perfect. It’s okay because he breaks the eye contact, nods and goes back to the couch and the television still on, and I am left standing by the closed door, finally free, and he may not have said it, but my father loves me.

Strangely, extraordinarily

She doesn’t realize I am looking at her. She is staring at her hands, spread on my bed, naked except for that necklace I have never seen her without, the one with the blue rock. She has told me what that specific kind of mineral is called a few times before, but I keep forgetting; what I always remember is that it is the exact shade of her eyes.

I wonder if she knows I spent almost an hour organizing my room before she got here. I folded the clothes that had been on the chair for almost two weeks and put them in the closet. I took a book I had never read and knew she liked from the shelf and put on the nightstand, just in case she noticed. I set a glass of water next to it, planning to offer it to her, but turned it on the sink when I realized it might be too much. I found a white candle in between number shaped ones and thought about lighting it, but that too seemed like an exaggeration, so I let only the lamp by my bed turned on. I chose a CD I loved and put it next to the book, just in case the moment was right to put it on. I made my bed and then unmade it and made it again, so that it wasn’t overly made. (It was probably overly made.)

When the doorbell finally rang, the entire room seemed totally wrong. The image of her there, the most beautiful girl I could think of, standing in the room where I have been sleeping in my entire life, the room where I have had numerous dreams about her, seemed too indescribably good to be true. It seemed like a shortcut in the Universe, like pages of different books glued together.

But now she is laying on my bed and she has never ever been this beautiful, and somehow, in some absolutely strange and completely extraordinary way, it makes perfect sense.

She cracks her knuckles, one two three all the way to ten, and catches me looking at her. She smiles at me. I can’t believe how beautiful she is, and I smile back.

She keeps her eyes on mine. She is looking right at me; not at the book by the nightstand, at the lamp next to it, at the one shirt I left unfolded, at the water stain the glass left on the wood and I totally forgot to put that CD on. She is looking right at me, and she is smiling.

The day we met

The first time we met, we had been dating for about four months.

The first time we talked was because a friend thought we would be a nice match, gave me her phone number and I called because I couldn’t find a good reason not to. The first time I saw her was when I picked her up with my old beaten up car, and she was pretty, I thought. Not extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably sweet like say the poems about love, but far too pretty for me anyway.

It was a nice date, nothing too wrong with it, so naturally there came a second, then a third, then a fourth, then a fifth and without previous questions I referred to her as my girlfriend on the phone. She was a very good kisser, though not the best of my life. She was funny, ironic sometimes but never rude. Her taste in movies was much better than mine, but she was never pretentious about it. My parents liked her and my mom said she probably had good genes. She gave me books I always loved on our month anniversaries and pretended very well she liked the ones I gave her. She was perfectly okay.

Then one day, a regular Thursday four months and a few days in, I met her. She rang the doorbell to my apartment, as usual. I opened the door, as usual, bottle of wine set up and television turned on for our usual in night. She smiled at me a painfully artificial smile without a hug or a peck, definitely not usual, and sat on the carpet next to the sofa, not unprecedented but also not usual. And before I could say anything, she started crying. I had never seen her cry before. She never cried during movies, even when I could not help myself.

She cried for a long time. First, I tried asking what was wrong. She kept crying. I tried touching her arm or lightly holding her, but it was like I wasn’t there at all. So I quietly set next to her for the long time during which she cried, and I waited in the silence wondering if there was anything she was herself waiting for. I really needed to pee, but I didn’t want her to feel, even if for two minutes, that I was done with her crying. I didn’t want her to feel like she was alone, because she was my girlfriend and I liked her and she was pretty and she was my girlfriend, so I sat there and waited.

When she at last stopped, I asked again, and she looked right into my eyes, as if deciding if she should answer. I saw a glimpse of her pulling away, and with my eyes I begged for what I didn’t even know I wanted. Then, she started talking.

She told me about where she went to visit her little sister every Thursday. She told me about the nurses around her and the way her eyes seem devoid of life, more every week. She told me about what her mother hides under her bed, and how her  eyes too seem to be losing their light. She told me about that guy she used to date and what the things he said when he was drunk. She told me things so filled with darkness I did not comprehend how I could have known her and not seen any of it escape through her eyes.

Then she told me nicer things. She told me about how it feels to hug her sister when she lets her, and how every Christmas her mother cooks and doesn’t take pills and it’s almost like it used to be. She told me about the day she broke it off with that college boyfriend, and how she grabbed what would fit in a backpack, drove and drove until she was at the beach listening to the sound of the waves. Her favorite sound, she said.

And I saw her. And I was sorry, in a way, because I understood so clearly the reason why she ever let herself be with someone who didn’t see how phenomenal every single part of her was.

That Thursday night, after I finally peed and she washed her face, something so simple and yet more important than anything else shifted. When I looked at her, puffy red eyes, cheeks tinted magenta and lips curved in a smile sad but so real, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen before. She was an unbelievable collection of so many fascinating details, so many little things I had yet to know. I could not believe how I had ever looked at her and not stared deep within her eyes, in them a question which I could spent a lifetime answering. I could not believe she was there, all along, on every date, and I had, still with her by my side, almost let go this unremarkable truth within her eyes. And that night, when we kissed, it was the best kiss of my life.

Fifteen years in the making

Right at this very moment, the man of quiet eyes who I today love is sitting at table in the back of a crowded restaurant, not so far from our apartment, with an old friend of his I have met a few times, and he is telling her about how he doesn’t love me. That might be more than slightly self centered, and though in a way completely true. But it isn’t about me, as much as it will eventually feel that way and yell at him for that, and hate him on some nights. It’s not about me.

He is telling her a story that goes way back to before we had even met. A story that begins when I had just gotten my braces out and had another boyfriend and really wanted to be homecoming queen; when he had pimples and still lived in that very small town across the country. He is telling her a very long story in which I am only a chapter, the last one, although he doesn’t know that yet.

In fact right now he couldn’t even imagine to believe that the ending is that close. It feels like the beginning, although, as it is clear from the story he is telling, the beginning was a very long time ago. Right now, it feels like it has all just started, because he is finally saying the words. It feels like maybe it’s the first thing he ever said in his entire life. It feels like the first sentence, but it is the climax – the beginning of the end.

He says it. He is going through everything, every single chapter, from the first thoughts, to his old best friend from high school, to his dad’s unfortunate jokes, to the fear of playing truth of dare, to meeting me. He says the words, all six letters, in a whisper so low she almost can’t hear it i am gay and he so desperately begins to cry, completely unable to stop. He cries out of his body the stories he never thought he would tell and the love that has turned to hate and all the times in which he didn’t say anything. Tears of so much pain, fifteen years in the making. In the quietness of his sobs, he is free.

His friend is listening quietly, and after he is done she will hold his hand and say it is okay. She will ask if he plans of telling me anytime soon, and he will cry more. He will say he knows he has to, and it is not fair to me because he could never love me in the way I want him to, in the way I think he does, but he can’t find the strength to do it. When I find out, in a couple of months, I will hate him for this. In between glasses of wine, I will scream in anger, calling him selfish and mean and heartless. I will hate him.

And it is true he was selfish. But he was also in pain, lost and confused and most importantly he was human. It will take a very long time for the anger to fade and for me to accept that he isn’t a villain in my story but instead the very brave amd only human hero of his own. He is only human. And he always had kind eyes, even when every breath of his body held a lie which came out of fear, even when he let me love him.

One day, three or so years from now, when he will finally know that today is the beginning of the end, the night in which he is free, I will see him for the first time since the ending of the end. I will be in the line at the supermarket, buying the ingredients to make myself pasta because it is my favorite, and when I hear my name and look behind me, he will be there. The same, but so very different. A light to him which I have yet to see. His eyes so, so blue, almost unrecognizable, because before all I could see in them was a certain sadness I didn’t even quite recognize. He will look more like him than ever before, and it will make me smile. There will be nice, maybe quick small talk, because we both have somewhere to be, and though I won’t say anything I will catch a glimpse of a ring on his finger. I will go home feeling in my heart the warmth of forgiveness and of understanding, the warmth of being human, and I will never see him again.

Of course, right now, I don’t know that yet. Right now I am watching a movie on TV and eating frozen pizza, wondering how long it will take for him to get home with the cupcake I asked him to bring. I am in love with a man I am sure loves me back, completely clueless of the fact that in two months he will sit me pour me a glass of my favorite wine and sit me down across the dinner table we bought together and tell me news that will shatter my world. I will hate him, then forget him, then forgive him, and never see him again. And in the quietness of a forgotten love I will know we were only a single chapter, and for a second before I forget forever, I will be convinced the sweet happiness of his eyes is the single most beautiful thing in the world,

Maybe if

Maybe I should have asked her not to leave. Maybe I should have held her face between my hands, looked right into the sweet darkness of her eyes and all the beautiful things they held and said please please please you are wrong about me i can do this. But of course I didn’t, and maybe she was right. If she was so wrong, I wouldn’t have let her go.

Maybe I should have run down the stairs so fast that when I finally got through the eight floors, the elevator would have just arrived. Perfect timing. I would have kissed her, and she would have kissed me back, and I would tell her to give me a chance to prove her wrong. Or maybe I would arrive at the lodge right as she left the building, and I would never see her again. Or maybe she wouldn’t kiss me back at all, or not give me the chance to prove myself as the man I should have been.

Maybe she would have given me a chance. Maybe if she did we would find the happiness it was so hard to believe in. Or maybe I would have proved all her predictions to be true, and one way or another made her stop loving me. I would have promised that my father’s drinking habit and beating the shit out of his wife habit, my mother leaving without an address and phone number behind and my brother not talking to me for years didn’t necessarily mean I had abandonment issues. I would swear with all my heart that I wasn’t afraid to love or be loved. But then one night we would be watching that movie she loved so much, drinking wine and eating popcorn, and I would look at her and it would kill me. As she laughed at a scene she had watched so many times she knew by heart and put a handful of popcorn in her mouth, I would realize just how much I loved her. Her beautiful dark eyes, the simple truths I found within them, her long and wavy hair in a messy bun on top of her head, the chipped green nail polish she always had on, her pink lips and rosy cheeks, all of it so fatally beautiful. My heart would weight in my chest, and I would want to cry and scream and yell because I was so scared of how much I loved her. I would be so scared that one day she would wake up and realize how she was infinitely too phenomenal to be with someone like me. I would pick a fight over something stupid and she would hate me because she was right all along and she was never the kind of person who needed to be right.

Or maybe not. Maybe I would have been tempted to find her a reason to end it already, but I would have stopped myself. I would have closed repeated in my head that I owed it to her to try my very best. I owed her to be the man she deserved. And when she told me she loved me, I would have done my very best to not let myself be convinced that she was lying, because her eyes always told the truth.

Maybe. Or maybe not. There isn’t really a way to know. Because when she told me I didn’t know how to be loved, I looked down at my feet and said nothing at all. I let her close the door behind her and go down the elevator and out of the building to a life, as I believed she deserved, without me.

There was no asking her to stay, running down the stairs, kissing her and being kissed back, watching marathons of the same movies every weekend, loving her and being loved back. There was also no unrequited kisses, heartbreaking rejections, uncalled for fights or unkept promises. There was just me, alone in my apartment, and enough what ifs to haunt every single second of the life of a very foolish man.

Reasons why I don’t believe in astrology

You have a Leo venus. This is supposed to mean you want, more than anything, to feel special and loved. It is supposed to mean you ache for attention, in any form it may come. You’re supposed to aspire to be the sun, the most beautiful star, admired by the smaller ones who know exactly how perfect you are.

The first time I saw you, your dark skin and curly hair and darker eyes, I felt what I believe love is supposed to make you feel like. I felt beauty without the pain, sunshine without the burn. But I didn’t believe in love at first sight, so I let myself know you before I called it that. It didn’t take long. I fell in love with you, and I realized that what I thought it was supposed to feel like couldn’t have been more wrong. It was pain as much as it was beauty, and it burnt as much as it was sunshine.

I fell in love, and you adored every part of it. The turns I had to take to drop you off, the pictures I took when you weren’t looking, how I always read the books you loved, the hours I spent on the phone despite the fact I really had to study, how I always put your favorite song to play on the car radio without you having to ask. Every piece I tear off myself and give to you, you keep in a collection as if they are your most special belongings.

You don’t keep me around only for how much love I give you, I know. You care about me, and you have been here for many nights when I needed someone who wouldn’t leave; you have a Leo venus, which is supposed to mean you’re loyal. You are supposed to be a little bit egocentric, and you want to be the target of all the love there is, but you’re a good friend who never led me to think you could love me back when you clearly can’t.

I wish with all my heart that you loved me. I wish I could be a small star watching the sun shine forever; I wish I could get so close to you I would burn. I wish you could love me, but I understand that you can’t, and it’s okay. I want you to be my sun and my universe, but it’s okay that you don’t want me to be anything but a faraway star. And it hurts me deep in my soul. But it’s okay. You have no obligation of loving me, and I choose to love you despite knowing you don’t.

This is the part that isn’t okay: you have a leo venus, so you are supposed to want to be loved and cherished and feel special. But he doesn’t love you or cherish you or let you know how special you are. Last night, after two bottles of wine and an awkward dinner, I closed the door to your apartment and before I could take a step, I heard him screaming at you. He called you terrible things, and he made you smaller and smaller until I couldn’t even hear you crying anymore, until you shrunk to an inch and still had nowhere to hide.

All I wanted was to go back inside and put you in my pocket and run somewhere he wouldn’t find us, and that is not fair. It’s not fair because you are extraordinary in every possible way, and you are the Sun. Not a damsel in distress or someone who needs to be saved. You’re not shrunken to an inch, you are the Sun.

I know it’s not your fault. But it’s not fair to you. You’re beautiful and extraordinary and exquisite, you’re as close to perfect as they come, and it’s not fair that you want love so badly but still wants someone who doesn’t give it to you. I wish I would be the one you want all these things from, but it’s alright I am not. I just wish you would look for it in places where you would actually find it. You have a Leo venus, and you’re supposed to be the sun, but instead, he is burning you until you’re nothing but ashes, and with all I have in me I wish I could save you.

You have a Leo venus, and I don’t believe in astrology.

My favorite perfume

Summer I met a man with warm hands and a cold heart, a big mansion by the beach and even bigger secrets. It was filled with bottles of wine and tequila and blinking, colorful lights at night. The songs played loud in every room, so loud I could barely hear my own thoughts; I danced in his arms for hours straight, letting everything go. Then the guests would start to go home, and I was reminded that I didn’t have one. We would be left with empty bottles and an empty house, and when morning came, there would only be silence. I heard every single one of my thoughts, and I felt the man next to me breathing, realizing I was more alone than ever. Then, summer was over and he put his ring back on and left the big mansion to go back to his big apartment in the city. I was even more alone.

Fall I met a man who was even more broken than me. His pieces were falling like leaves, and I thought maybe gluing them back together could be a way to save myself. I heard him talk about his dreams and fears, the places he wanted to go to and the places he never wanted to see again; I heard him talk and talk and tried to feed him words that would maybe make him cry less, but it didn’t really work. I made him tea, searched for books I thought he would like and begged for him to get out of bed. Some days he did, some he didn’t. When it was the latter, I laid next to him, an unsuccessful attempt to be a little less alone. It was months and months of living in his small dark universe, trying to bring some light to it, but then fall was over and the wind came fast, blew strong and left even faster, taking him with it. I was left with nothing but dry leaves, and he faded away.

Winter I was more alone than ever before, looking for someone to keep me warm. I met a man with icy eyes, the bluest I had ever seen. He had the warm hands I had craved so much, he made me the hot tea and asked me many questions he seemed to really care about the answers for. He made silence for my thoughts and turned the exact song I needed to hear loud when I needed to stop thinking. He had secrets it didn’t kill me knowing of, dreams that made me hope, fears that made me feel understood and stories and pictures of places that reminded me of how big the world is. He showed me things I needed to see and told me things I needed to hear; sleeping next to him almost felt like I finally had a home. Almost, but it didn’t. He was everything I wanted and everything I needed, he was the one that was supposed to save me, but he couldn’t; it was then I started to realize people can’t really save each other. Then, winter came to an end, but I still had to face the cold.

Spring I was still alone. For the first time, truly alone, no warmth of love and a body asleep next to me. I was waiting and waiting for a ray of sunshine, a blow of the wind, a falling snowflake, and as I waited and waited, a flower bloomed. It was small and it was fragile, but it was maybe the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It smelled like my favorite perfume and I loved its simpleness more than the faraway thought of seasons that had come and gone, people that had come and gone. After summer and fall and winter, I still had my simple beautiful flower, and I had myself, and it was all so little and so enough and so unquestionably nice, and everyday that spring smelled like my favorite perfume.

Forever, maybe

She looks like someone I could spend the rest of my life with. That’s what I thought the first time I saw her. I was young, cliche and maybe a little drunk, yes, but it is what came to my mind as I watched her. She was dancing with a girl I had never seen before, moves that didn’t quite fit the song playing; she was beautiful, laughing, alive, and I thought I was in a romantic comedy. I may have convinced myself I would fall in love with her right then and there.

My friend from Art History told me she was someone’s girlfriend’s friend or something unimportant along those lines, and as he tried to explain exactly how his roommate knew her, I of course stopped listening and began listing myself all the possible ways to come up to her and say something, say anything. I took a shot that tasted disgusting and I walked to her holding my breath.

I thought I was living in a romantic comedy, and it felt like it in every way it could. She was everything my mind made her up to be; I was sure and, to my astonishment, she was too. We were young, cliche and definitely a little drunk, and we fell in love as quickly as we could. Then came first and second dates with good wine I definitely couldn’t afford, third and fourth dates with awkard moments and conversations about things a little more serious than they usually talk about in romantic comedies; came first kisses and first times, meeting the friends and meeting the parents, birthdays and Christmases, days missing and nights talking, and so much love in between. We were young, cliche and we fell in love with each other and with the idea of forever.

Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, forever was passing right before our eyes. But as we talked about love and picked rings, dresses, flowers, dates and baby names, forever was always a sweet thought of tomorrow, next month, next year, rather than the sweetest taste of a collection of simple, beautiful right nows. We got married. My mother cried, her father welcomed me to the family, her friend she was dancing with at that party was the maid of honor and on his speech my friend from Art History talked about how my eyes sparkled looking at her, the woman I would love so much, back on that first party. We talked about love and forever, and took each other as our lawfully wedded lovers, and promised to, from that warm summer day in July forward, have and hold each other through sickness and health, for richer and poorer, for better or for worse, until death did us part.

Forever was really all we had ever wished for.

We loved each other through it all – hospital scares that come with the age, months when we could barely make ends meet, pregnancy tests that always came negative. We told each other we took a vow and we were in love and we were forever, we couldn’t possibly throw it all away. We made sure to keep all of our vows, every single one of them, to keep our promise of forever safe, but at last the one we in a way longed for the most desperately did not remain kept. Death didn’t do us part.

Life happened, as it does, and as time passed, something essential faded away. Maybe it was the hurt, the not getting pregnant, the feeling stuck in time, but I each day more I suspect otherwise. I loved her through all of it, and she loved me back, and we held each other’s hands tight and ran our path to the picture of forever. And in a third act as ironic as life can let it be, we lost something which exists beyond words, the part of us that made love what we had always wished it could be.

Perhaps we waited for forever for so long, too long, and one day we looked back and realized half of our forever was behind us.

And we stayed. Our sweet romantic dramedy was over, it had been for a long time, but we stayed when we didn’t have any more reasons to, because even though we weren’t young anymore, we were still stubborn, and we were supposed to be forever.

The first time I saw her, I thought she looked like someone I would be lucky to spend the rest of my life with. I loved her, and I loved how she was my cliche, my romantic comedy, my forever. But, as it does, life happened, and we lost something and kept losing it. We were done part despite the fact that we were supposed to be forever, or maybe because of it. We pushed through the days and weeks and months and years because we were old and stubborn and too foolish for our own good, but when we looked back love was long gone, and life had done us part.