I see a long journey and its end. The face in the crowd is yours. I see a long journey and at the end of the day the face in the crowd belongs to you. I am reading something. You think I forgot this, but I didn’t. I am reading something and you are listening and we have never met, so it’s the end of a long, long journey. The face in the crowd is yours.
Once, it happened in a town far away from both our homes and I forgot to look for you because I was so nervous. After I read, sick with a fever that refused to abate for days before or after, I stood, sweaty and bigger than everyone there. I just stood there and didn’t look. If ever, at the end of a lifetime of years, you are finally there, I might forget to look. I might miss your face.
There is only one lifetime of years, and it’s the lifetime or the years, never both. You have to choose. These hands are ten years older and ten years more beautiful; the scar from our time is still visible on the middle knuckle, the biggest one, the busted one, the one that grew back strong and crooked. It is because you are not dead.
The dead are gone and about them I am wistful with eyes full of stars and dreams that bend hard upon the violence of loss. You are not dead, and I am not wistful. I am curious about your voice and the way you get in and out of a car, the way you order a coffee and snap a red leash onto your dog’s collar. I am new and whole and curious now, and it was a long journey that’s now at its end. All our memories are of things that never happened.
There is one picture of us that I still like. You are seated at an outdoor café in Fredricksburg, and the sun is just about gone. You are probably having peaches or something. Your teeth are big and bright in the dusk, your eyes in shadow. The darkness looks to be coming down the street, rolling in on a cloud. You don’t know it’s there, and neither, probably, do I. There’s a book in your lap – one that I bought you and wrote your name in. One you sold later, after. The darkness has already made a home in your eyes, but all I see is love. I am not in the picture.