4 PM, all alone in my apartment. My textbook carelessly left open on my desk; maybe if I listen hard enough, I’d hear the spine cracking. Photocopied cases haphazardly strewn on the floor next to a week’s worth of laundry piling up in the corner.
8 hours from now, another year will have passed of me without you, and you with her.
12 months of wondering whether you’re happy and better off without me, with her. I couldn’t help it, I just had to text you:
Hey! I know it’s been ages. But are you busy tonight? I’m turning 22 and I’m without any plans, law school is eating up all my time. Will you ring in my birthday with me? I guess it’s sad, but I just want some company when the clock strikes. Please?
I’m scared you’ll take forever to reply. Worse yet that you wouldn’t. The last time I bore my heart to you, it took you 3 months to finally say that you didn’t feel the same. My heart can’t take another beating like that.
4 minutes, that’s all it took:
Sure. Where? What time? Are we going to be studying?
8 PM, at the local coffeeshop. My open book in front of me, green from too much highlighting and all I could think of was whether it was going to be weird when you got here.
You walk in wearing that shirt. The last time I remember you wearing that shirt, we kissed in a strange land, in the dark, pretending to be strangers. You didn’t do it on purpose, I’m sure. That night meant nothing to you, while it meant everything to me.
We hug, exchange niceties and then sit next to each other in silence. You studying the nervous system and me the Constitution.
11:59 PM. My phone buzzes, it’s a message from you:
Happy Birthday!!! :)
12 MN. My phone rings, it’s a friend calling in to greet me. You’re just staring at me and smiling.
The call ends, my phone still vibrating with birthday greetings.
But all that matters is you, sitting next to me.
Thank you for being here. I really appreciate it.
Of course, where else would I be?
You should be with me. But you’re with her.