A Broken Goodbye
“I’m going to kiss you now,” he said sucking in a breath, lips quivering as though he was sipping on the frosty night air that made curlicues outside the heated car. His eyes pierced the darkness and were wild, pleading, telling me so much when all I wanted was to know so little. So that I could leave and try to forget that I ever loved him. The less I knew how much the pain scorched him, pelted him with boulders, the easier it would be to let go.
“Okay.” The sound of the purring engine seemed to slither up through the car seat through my jeans and underneath my skin, finding its way to my heart and making it pound like a cellphone’s vibration.
“Okay,” he said, brushing his fingers along the buttons of the console as though trying to absorb energy from the radio, some last minute strength to surge through his veins and propel him bravely forward. He leaned toward me, the passenger seat squeaking under his shifting weight. The apartment lights around us seemed to illuminate the street with dramatic lighting, setting the mood like a stage. This was a movie. I was the star of a Nicholas Sparks film; was that dangerously too-kind girl telling the love of her life that she could not be with him because she was unhappy. It might as well have been raining too with violins whining in the background.
He smelled of weed and desperation, and as his thumb traced my jawline with the tenderness that used to melt my insides, I clenched my teeth to silence the sobs that threatened to escape off my tongue. My mind turned like clockwork. He pressed his puffed up lips onto mine, those soft, full pillows that had trailed along my shivering skin, explored every bend, every curve of my body’s surface, had whispered sweet “I love yous” into my ears. There was lasting pressure to that kiss. He wanted there to be, wanted to stretch it out like salt-water taffy. And it was cool. The kiss was cool, felt like I was sandwiching a glass’s brim in between my lips. Felt like nostalgia and sadness and made my stomach fold into itself and fold into itself until it became a tiny pebble in a vast sea of organs. It felt wrong. But oh how I wanted to hold onto that kiss. I wanted to feel his echoing heartbeat against my fingertips as they glided up the sides of his neck, wanted to root my fingers into that brown hair I always loved to clutch in fistfuls. It was getting too long. He needed a haircut. And a shave. I could feel the stubble against my chin. My hollowed cheeks wanted more. I wanted to weave my passion with his like dancing fireflies, wanted to embrace him, to drink him up. But I couldn’t. So I pulled away, tension forming bold question marks above our heads. He waited for me with doe-like eyes, and this stabbed at my lungs like puncturing holes into plastic wrap.
I shouldn’t have kissed him. But I did. Maybe some part of me still had hope for us. Like all fairy tales, maybe I thought this kiss would result in a happy ending. But instead of a “Happily Ever After,” I just drove off. Leaving him limp on the sidewalk, holding in his breath, waiting for me to turn around. Leaving words and feelings unfinished and messy. It’s like honey, a relationship: sweet, yet sticky. I left him like a smothered flame, nothing but smoke wafting from sooty ash.
I can’t deal with that, with knowing that he was left with my taste on his lips, and I still imagine him standing there in all his numbness, rolling the tip of his tongue over and over the pink of his lips to savor, savor, savor my essence. To savor me.