I’ll be sitting at the train, looking at my reflection in the glass divider
breathing in the already forgotten exhale of my neighbor
and then I’m with you.
Or rather, walking down the sidewalk, focussing on missing the cracks
trying to distract myself from the nervous anticipation of the whole evening.
What I’m wearing is somehow relevant in my mind (unusual if you know me well).
Sandals, brown, unethical, leather… My beat up toes already dusty from Missoula’s summer streets.
A dress so thin that I wear it simply in agreeance with the social construct that one must wear a little bit of clothing to cover all the delicate parts of a lady, even on such hot summer day.
My hand tests the door handle, partly to discover what kind of burning heat the sun has gifted it, partly to see if I’m actually here, ready, here, ready, breathe in, breathe out.
The distillery is darkly lit, my eyes adjust slowly, only allowing me your silhouette at the bar. But I hear your voice, the laugh you use with strangers.
The body I inhabit moves me towards you, purposefully stepping softly, giving me a few more seconds to not be seen, to not have those eyes on me, to not know what will happen next.
I slip onto the barstool next to you, feeling the cool vinyl on my thighs, letting our arms touch on the counter, both of us looking ahead at the bartender.
We both pause.
Inhale. Exhale. Beat.
We turn our heads, both with expressions- an unreadable novel that will be translated as the night goes on.
“Long time no see.”
“What can I get you to drink? We have a few specials today! I’d suggest……”
The bartender’s voice pushes us out of that suspended reality that accompanies reunions. We both laugh. I notice you let your arm rest next to mine as you pick up the menu and order our drinks.
We find a booth and….
And I’m looking at myself in the glass divider on the train.
The night, our first night, our 3rd first night disintegrates into hopes after sitting finding a booth.
I hope we begin by sitting across from each other and by the end you’re beside me, noses almost touching as we laugh and breathe and exist in one another’s presence once again.
I hope we leave the cool bar for the warmth of the Missoula evening. I hope we walk by the river, holding hands, taking a moment to pause to kiss to breath to laugh to marvel in how simple it is: There is still love. There was never a lack of love. Forgiveness is loves fertilizer and distance its spring rain. The hollowness replaced by warmth. The confusion replaced by clarity. The loss replaced by yet another beginning with. You.
I have fears, of course. Fears that swim in my eyes as I look at my reflection in the glass divider, exhaling an already forgotten breath for my neighbor to use as his next.
I fear that you will move your arm away from mine. I fear you will remain on the other side of the booth. I fear we will walk separate ways home to separate beds to separate worlds in a city that feels like yours and mine but not ours.
I fear you’ll tell me about her. Some her. Her who did not cure your confusion or loneliness but rather replaced it with smoking on the back porch followed by collapsing into bed to discuss something I could never connect with you on. Replaced it with her… who
And then I’m shaken out of my state as the subway car jolts to a stop, my stop and I take one last glance in the glass divider and leave you and her and me there for now. Until the next ride through Stuttgart.