They Told Me I’m Not Romantic

I came here with someone else. You came alone, I think. Aren’t we really all going places alone, with a bunch of other people?
It was loud, as those places are.
The kind of loud that pumps into your brain, where you can’t really form the ends of your thoughts. They’re bouncing around in your head all night, sure, but the throbbing of the bass steal the endings from your mind so there was a
lot of people and they were all
dancing the night away is great if you
are you going to the bar because
if you do get my jacket and pull down my dress it’s
a little too short of an evening, always
time for a bathroom
break me out of here
People were back to back, they were front to front – you and me ended up side by side.
“I recognize you,” you said it with a smile. Your left front tooth is a little pointier than the other. Yeah, I recognized you too, from earlier that day.
You were a version of someone from my past, slimmed down, faded out, maybe, but the spark in your eye and the catch in your voice was the photograph that reminded me I noticed you. But that’s the thing about the past. It’s gone. You were right in front of me, shining with the possibility of the future solid with the gleam of the present.
“Hi!” was all I could say because the music reached out and swallowed
my words hung in the air when
you looked at me and I thought
everything is going to be
“Good DJ tonight!” said another guy from our group as he squeezed past on the floor. For a few seconds it was just you and me.
We tried to talk about something, but talking breaks in a place where no one really comes to talk, and it never gets fixed. It appreciate, though, that you tried it. That’s one of the nicest things that someone did for me all night – try to learn more than my name.
Maybe the protocol was different because I came here with obligations and you knew that so you really just wanted to talk. Maybe you really just were, though, one of the only decent people in this entire city.
This doesn’t happen that often and out of everyone there that night I felt we were drawn from the same constellation when our eyes kept meeting, crashing together and making thunder. The feeling you know that something is there, something could happen, something different than it could with that other stranger across the room.
The buildup was like the music
it rose and fell in all the right
places like this are where people
go to dance and forget
if we have problems we’ll just pretend
I’m always asking if anything is real but the moment we’re in.
Your hands moved lightly around my waist and I gave myself a mental pat on the back for the crunches I do every morning. Light hands, a polite “may I” in the waves of hypnotic sound – tightened closer around my waist. The “May I” turned to “I need to’ when the touch tightened. It was different from the ghost of my past, the flicker in my mind forever haunting me – it was there.
We were both singing along to the words. That’s another thing I liked about us – you. There was laughter in your eyes, a smile at the way life stretches out before us. You’ll sing along to the lyrics with no abandon, me in your arms, because that’s what you want to do and that’s the kind of person your eyes said you were.
But we had to break
apart
Those people we both recognized were back and we did not come here with each other. Dancing alone, the atoms inbetween our bodies smirked and knew it wouldn’t be for long.
It wasn’t – people crowded around, lights were low, and movements were out of sight – hips swaying say hey, me and you could be some of the only decent people in this city, but I was decent out of choice, not nature, and as the minutes passed my choices were evolving and one decision I wanted to make was
to wait a few seconds more and move my eyes
to look straight into yours for a few seconds
pass me off as a story you’ll tell down the road
is long and winding and my dress is cut low and yes you can look
where your polite hands can finally lose the battle and
our mouths can dance too and take their time across the floor.
Except woah there that’s not the kind of thing people like us do. It’s not, which makes it all the more enticing. But we’re not those people, so we don’t.
I didn’t come here with you which means I won’t leave here with you either, a disappointment in the back of my mind to save for a later day, when reality is a reality again.
We still danced. The music was too loud to explain all the details of how I ended up here and I wasn’t even sure of all the details of how I ended up here.
But because of everything, it was our little secret, our spiderweb connection, our collision of identities where broken pieces all fit into each other and make something whole. Eyes, hands, feeling like all I wanted in the world.
We both knew the night was drawing near. Everyone we knew was slowly dwindling away to their corners of the city. I wanted to ask where you were going, what you were doing tomorrow, anything – but didn’t. Couldn’t, shouldn’t, really. Instead, you leaned over and told me you thought I was pretty.
That was it. Not hot, like there was only one thing you wanted. Not gorgeous, like some cheesy gimmick. Pretty, your tone of voice like you were talking about who I am, not what you see.
Then you were gone. I never saw you again.

Now you’re someone from my past, too, stretched thin across the corners of my imagination, “pretty” ringing in my ears. I wonder what would have happened if I had damned the consequence and found out where you were going.
Now your only name is possibility. One day I hope we will meet again. I hope you meet me in the arms of another girl, wherever you are, and I find comfort in your laugh even if the eyes aren’t your own. For now I’ll say goodbye, possibility. One day we’ll meet again.

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