Since I met him a year ago, every time I have approached the corner of my block, my heart races.
He’d planned to stop and see me, but an appointment took much longer than I’d expected, I’d forgotten my cell phone at home, and I assumed that by time I got home he’d be gone.
But he there waiting, leaning against the fence in the courtyard. It’s a fence that’s built for leaning, but too pointy for sitting. But he waited there without even seeming anxious as he read a book about pitching mechanics.
We’d learn over the months that the courtyard fence was good for many things. It served as a nice perch for opening new packs of baseball cards, it worked as a backstop for playing catch, and it was the perfect height for really long kisses with the neighbors watching.
But since he left, it’s an ugly reminder that he hasn’t been here in months. He wasn’t here to rake the leaves, nor was he here to throw snowballs at the dog when the blizzard hit. He hasn’t been here to see the tulips bloom, and he probably doesn’t know how sweet the honeysuckle smells.
There’s a bike chained to the courtyard fence that’s been there poetically since around the same time that we met… but its wheels have fallen off and the longer it sits there rusting and waiting for someone to come back for it, my resentment and disgust for the courtyard fence grows.
Sometimes, sparks are undeniable.
And sometimes there is a man more attractive and loving than you deserve, though sometimes he’s more troubled than you can counsel and too guarded emotionally.
But most of the time, those sparks take your breath away when you see him there, and realize that every moment that you spend together is a moment in which you no longer have to be alone.
Unfortunately our sparks didn’t last, as he’d found sparks with someone else, making our history irrelevant.
And then it didn’t matter how many text messages or late night phone calls we had exchanged, or the road trips we had planned for baseball season.
It certainly didn’t matter that I spent beer money on a few extra packs of baseball cards to try and find one of his favorite player, because I knew his smile would be well worth the investment.
It no longer matters that I fell asleep in his arms after we shared a bottle of champagne in bed to celebrate the Giants winning the World Series, a team neither of us gave a damn about.
And soon the only memory that matters is the one where I expect him to be standing there.
Every single day there would be wonder whether today would be the day that rounding the corner was actually like entering a time machine and he’s there in his Montreal Expos T-shirt waiting. I don’t believe in werewolves, super powers, Bigfoot, or jeans fitting perfectly from the rack, yet I couldn’t shake the idea of him standing there.
I’d made the leap from hopeless romantic to irrational romantic, where prince charming remains, regardless of the odds.
On my walk home tonight, where the only sounds I heard were traffic and faint car horns, I rounded the corner unphased.
And as I opened the gate to the courtyard, whose old hinges squeak upon entry, my heart did not race as I walked past the memory of him holding my hand as he returned the baseball card I’d spent three months of the baseball season seeking as a gift for him…the sucker-punch of our relationship ending.
And I thought about the kiss on my cheek before he left me alone in the place where I had fallen in love, to go to the place where he’d fallen in love with someone else, I didn’t feel resentment or disgust anymore.
I’d finally reclaimed the space that belonged to me that he’d always haunted…and celebrated by putting his baseball card in the spokes of the rusty bicycle that remains there.