Happy Birthday, Mr. President

People ask me a lot about what happened. About why we didn’t work. Why we ended. How we ended.

People ask me a lot about the ending, less about the inbetweens. Hoping to bypass the necessity of failure, the lesson of pain. The lesson of new beginnings, of continuous endings.

People ask me for the shortcut. I only know the scenic route.

I can close my eyes and recreate the mornings, the nights, the afternoons. The Sundays you left; the days you came. I can close my eyes and sketch the timeline of your stubble’s growth, retrace the finger-painting you splattered across my skin.

I can close my eyes and remember the taste, before the heartache.

Are you back together? Everyone asks. Accusatory tones.

My hair smells like you. That spot my head indented into your shoulder. Why does nobody else’s lips feel like this? Our bodies fit like a memory.

Were we ever apart?

Your fingers play my favorite song; my body encases your favorite instrument.

How can you eat that gluttonous Thanksgiving dinner: mashed potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie, macaroni and cheese, knowing how it’ll end? Bellied up, sinfully wiping your mouth, mind tingling with small pangs of regret yet annually repeating?

Tongue across my bottom lip, trails through my veins, arched back, the jolting recoil of a body baptized. Your hands on my waist. The strength of your arms make me airborne. The feeling of you makes me fly. ­

This is how.

Do you remember your old favorite songs? The ones that used to be on repeat, that used to play throughout your house, your car, your shower walls? The ones that got stuck in your throat, glued to your mind? If you heard them again now, would you love them the same? After a month? After a year? After many?

Mine, you whisper, in tandem with your stroke.

Yours, I respond. My body shakes. Everything remembers.

How often do you rewatch your favorite TV show? Repeat the lines, laugh at the same cues. Mornings on the couch, nights in the bed, the same actors repeating the same act. How often do you follow through until the end?

How long until you rewind again?

How long until the last episode becomes the first?

My mind trembles.

My eyes shut. Our bodies crash. Thoughts dissolve.

Everything blanks.

I wanted to be your perfection. Your lasting memory.

Sometimes people are just seasons.

You’re a goddamn holiday.

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