I waited anxiously for you outside the Embarcadero center. The BART was running late, you were on your way from your apartment in Oakland.
This was the first time we were going to hang out. It had been months of back and forth but I finally gave in. There was a magnetic force between us that could only be felt. No matter how much I pulled back, I always felt the whiplash of becoming closer to you. I didn’t want any part of it. I didn’t want any part of you. I felt myself bursting at the seams and I didn’t want you involved. Vulnerability is the enemy but I couldn’t help it. I was lonely and somehow you filled my void like a puzzle.
There you were, running up the stairs from BART. With your moppy brown hair that was always covered with a backwards hat, chapped lips, frail figure, and the iconic double denim outfit. I couldn’t help but smile every time I saw you.
You saw my smile and smiled back. You brought me close and embraced. He said “Sorry I was late. The BART is unpredictable.” I replied “Tell me about.” He laughed slightly and said “So what did you want to do?”
“I was thinking about going ice skating but when I got here for some reason the rink here is closed.”
“We can walk to the one downtown it’s not too far.”
“Yeah that would be nice me.”
We started to walk up Market. At first there was uncomfortable silences. You were still a stranger but with time it was easier to unravel you. We talking about our dreams of seeing the world, our love of writing and our favorite bands. The magnetic force made more sense with every word that spilled from your mouth. I hung on every word. I wanted to know you. I wanted you. It just wasn’t so easy.
We get to the ice rink downtown. It was my first Christmas in San Francisco and I hadn’t seen anything like it. A cityscape of tall building. Snowflake lights on every light pole. A huge Christmas tree outside of Macy’s covered in red and gold ornaments.
I couldn’t look up from the sky, the building, and the tree. It was what I envisioned my whole entire life. City dreams but in real time. I got lost until you said “You have a beautiful smile.” I locked eyes on him. I said “We should buy our tickets and get our skates. We don’t have much time until midnight.”
He bought the tickets for ice skating. I told him I could buy my own but he insisted. We sat down and tied up the rented ice skates.
You went on the ice first. I could tell it wasn’t your first time. I never have been ice skating. You could tell because I ended up falling a couple of times. After the third time, you reached your hand out to me. Your hand was soft and warm, comfort, everything I wasn’t but you smiled at me anyway.
We skated arm to arm. I had never felt so close to you, to anyone. We talked about our families. We talked about the upcoming holiday and how lonely it could be in the city. I didn’t feel alone anymore.
It was 11:20 and the last BART to Oakland left at 11:30. We rushed to get to the Powell Muni/BART station. We hugged goodbye and went our different ways. I hopped on the last L and by the time I got to West Portal, I had five text messages and three missed calls.
“Hey babe what are you up to?”
“Are you busy.”
“Why are you ignoring me?”
“Babe please I don’t understand why you aren’t texting me back.”
“Okay well I love you.”
None of them were from you. I started to cry because I wish one of them were. I wished I could let go, for the sake of me and him. I wished I could be free of the monsters inside of me. I wish I could be free on the infidelity.
Instead I text you and say “Sorry! I went out with a friend and left my phone at home. I love you babe.” Still wishing you were someone else.