looking out an airplane window

RETURNING HOME AFTER A LONG TRIP

The end of my travels reminded me of the end of my relationship with Kessie. This was about five years ago: Kessie had largish ears, a couple of tattoos, a flat arse and was an amazing lover. I was a horrible person to her, and, for no good reason, one day decided to stop talking to her. She called me once in a while, and she texted me once in a while (“Where are you?” “Are you okay?” “Did I do something wrong?”), but I would have none of it, so one day she learnt to let go.

At nights, and during days, when the loneliness came, I’d text her. I’d ask her how she was, and ask her to come over. She’d tell me she was busy and I’d tell her that was fine, but I kept asking her out, and asking her out, until one day she buckled—“Fine. Let’s have coffee,” she said—and when she buckled I changed my mind, and once again I let her fly into the dark sky, and I bragged to my friends about how shitty I was.

This time, when loneliness came and I texted her, she didn’t bother replying. So I found her on social media: I commented on her posts, I sent her DMs, I clicked like on everything, but she never replied. One day she posted a photo of her new boyfriend. “Congrats,” I wrote. “Thanks,” was all she said.

Then as my life remained stale her life blossomed: she got married, she had a beautiful child, and I watched it all unfold on social media: her laughter, her husband’s laughter, her child’s first steps, her child’s first word; new jobs, a new car, a new home; picnics, sunlight, starlight, rainbows, chocolate chip cookies, freshly baked brownies, flowers roses tulips peonies, eyes closed in a dazzling wind, hands locked together, cocktails with girlfriends, motivational quotes, love beyond measure, love beyond control, love that cannot ever ever be compared, love that overcomes all things, moans of love, laughter of love, tears of love, a love sunrise—who are you? When did I let you go? I can kiss you no more, I can hold you no more, this is a story that has reached its end and one day neither of us will think about each other again, and one day, perhaps a century from now, our names will never be muttered again and we will truly no longer belong to this world.

I returned from my travels an enlightened being, but no one cared. I found routine again. I returned to work, I returned to reading books, I returned to writing books, I returned to going for runs, I returned to checking social media.

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Book I’m reading: Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

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