my first sailing class

What did I do when you did not come? How did I pass the years? What happens to a heart left longing? I finished all of the books I started and wrote down a few days I didn’t want to forget. I stood with shaky knees at the Grand Canyon and found French movies playing in the park. I worked a few jobs like one should. I bought a used bike. I talked to an old lover on the phone at night after he’d been tipped out of his serving shifts, out of routine, like sliding into shoes bought before my feet stopped growing. I worried about paying rent, always worried about paying rent but still bought a few new sweaters at full price. I made new friends who made me laugh. I ate spaghetti and grew to crave brussel sprouts when lightly fried. I drank too much and kissed strangers to remind myself I could. I drank too much and threw up in a hotel hallway to remind myself I shouldn’t. Always whiskey, whatever was the house. I took melatonin once to sleep straight through the night for a change, not wanting to wake up to read or stare or listen to songs on repeat. I took up running but never became a runner, unable to take the shape. I broke promises, mostly about quitting smoking, mostly about sailing anywhere off South America. I flew home a few times, each return feeling older than I was, each time wondering when I’d be back for Sunday lunches after church, if I could ever go back, if I could ever stay anywhere. I thought about God but only when standing barefoot in grass, only when it was warm out, only if I was in water. Never in the city. God was never in the city. After a while, I felt as though I was never there either. I wrote you a few letters, even sent a few. I waited. I took interest in politics, mostly out of a sense of obligation and started taking vitamins for a similar reason. I wondered if you were happy and assumed yes. I wondered if I was and assumed the same. You stopped yourself and I always did too. Meantime turned to years. Meantime became ours.