Six years after the fact, I sat on a deck with my very first love. We had changed a lot since then.
He had just completed his undergraduate degree in something scientific, and I was massaging overly ambitious art star dreams with bleeding intern fingers.
I had just been rejected by another guy via text message, in the passenger seat of his car.
“I just don’t get it,” I said, half choking back tears, “I just don’t fucking get it.”
He passed me another mojito.
Around this time six years ago, I was saying the same thing about him to another friend. The only difference was that I meant it harder. I meant it fervently, gurgling with the ferocious urgency of being fifteen, rather than a half dazed twenty-something sneer. Ardor, it seems, meant more then then it does now.
“I remember the letter you gave me,” he said blinkingly, a little quiet––a little dazed.
“About how love exists in used film cannisters,”
I nodded. A quick acid-trip flashback to half-listened-to science lectures, while articulating a corrosive new love. Even now, the memories still dismantle me.
“I put it in a box with some other things,” he said, perhaps to shake me out of whatever-the-fuck my expression was, “It’s in my nostalgia box.”
I don’t have much from my old lovers except for lessons. Lessons on how not to be, lessons on how not to treat people. Maybe if I rifled through, I’d find an old opera program or two?