as you were pulling away from the driveway in your car. I pretended not to notice as I took out the Tupperware containers from my lunch bag to be placed in the dishwasher. I casually spun around and returned my lunch bag to its place on top of the refrigerator. In that moment of glancing up and out of the kitchen window in the midst of my usual after work routine, I saw you do something that you never did before when we were together...something that when we were together I looked for so hopefully.
I cannot tell you how many times I stood by my kitchen window watching as you left. Part of it is my familial habit of walking visitors, friends and family to the door when saying good-bye and then watching and waving in their send off. Sometimes it seems silly, but I cannot help these rituals. It provides some sense of comfort, hope and well wishes exchanged between myself and those that I care about until I see them again. When it is reciprocated, there is a sort of feeling of closure in that moment, almost like an acknowledgement...until the next time...or...my spirit is with your spirit.
But when we were together, you never looked back. You would jump into your car and off you went...zoom...onto the next adventure in life. So many times you were full of energy and bounding to do the next thing. I wondered if I was hardly a thought in your mind as you carried about your day after you left. You seemed so comfortable in your leaving. But was it that you took for granted that you would return to me?
Today you paused. You were looking up at me, and what seemed like the first time that you had been watching me. It's strange to suddenly realize that you are being observed. My breath slipped away and when I neared your eyes, I looked away. I didn't want you to see me noticing you noticing me. The thing that I longed for when we were together and you didn't do, suddenly now you took the time to do.
My heart hurts and it's not fair. There are days that I still miss you, still think about you and wonder why it could not have worked. I loved you so. But then I think back to the things that secretly brought me relief when it was over. And that saddens my heart, too. It comes in cycles of mourning, sadness and anger that get smaller and smaller with time. They are followed by the building of strength that comes from productively feeling the pain...to honor what was lost in order to move onward.
Why did you have to look at me in that way today from your car? It was awkward enough to have to ask you to come and unlock my door after I locked my keys in my apartment. You were kind about it, but you could hardly look at me. And I could hardly look at you. We were polite and asked the obligatory, "How are you?" I sensed that you did not want to be there in that space with me as it felt quietly rushed. Both were seemingly insouciant, but with more under the surface than what either of us was willing to admit. I cannot imagine what the real thoughts were in your head. I have no idea.
As you were unlocking the door, I just kind of glanced around you. I could not look at you, as much as I wanted to catch a glimpse of your face. A song came to my mind, one that is so cliche, but snippets kept jumping out at me...
"Dreams, that's where I have to go to see your beautiful face anymore."
I almost felt like I would rather just remember you the way that I imagine than to painfully see you in this current reality knowing you are no longer with me.
"I would lie and say that you're not on my mind."