I woke up this morning in a panic because I dreamt of the last time you were lying on the pillow next to me. We didn’t get out of bed until noon, I was still half asleep when you shook me gently and asked if I’d like some coffee. I nodded without thinking, and I never told you it had been months since I’d dared to touch that beverage. Sometimes I think you must have spiked my drink, because when I took that first sip I realised I was genuinely happy, and I can’t explain how something bitter could ever taste so sweet.
I put on your old sweater and went outside for a cigarette to calm my nerves. I bought another packet even though I promised you I’d quit, and every day I tell myself I will eventually. I remember the face you made when you ran out and had to smoke one of mine, and it still makes me laugh every time I think of it. I never told you how often I wanted to kiss you and held back instead, because you never sat still and I was afraid of missing.
I wanted to say more than goodbye, but I hated the idea of saying too much and ruining what little we had. It was better this way, to end things pleasantly, without complications, and I can still think of you as a blessing because no one got hurt. So I didn’t tell you that I fell in love with you a little when you whispered my name in the dark and asked if I was asleep yet. When I turned around and put my head on your chest I heard your heartbeat and it reminded me of the ocean. When you put your arms around me I didn’t tell you how I felt safe for the first time in what felt like forever because your hands never strayed. I had grown accustomed to men who could never let me sleep soundly, and you were a breath of fresh air after years of pretending not to notice.
I didn’t tell you that your presence bought me calm and happiness, two things I needed so desperately. I didn’t tell you how great I think you are, how I look at you and see a wonderful future. I wish I was in a better position to tell you to get your life together, but mine was still in shambles and I try not to be a hypocrite.
I didn’t tell you that everything will be alright, that this too shall pass, and one day you won’t have to smoke away all your feelings. I didn’t tell you that feeling this way made me feel alive but wish I was dead at the same time. I didn’t tell you that I think you could be the one who might save me, who might change my life for the better, because I don’t think you’d want the responsibility.
I didn’t get to thank you for making his ghosts fade away and dulling the pain. I wanted to wait for the right time to tell you everything but I know I’ll never get the chance. I keep checking my messages to see if you still miss me, even though I know they’re just empty words and you’re merely being polite. I’m nothing more than the pictures I drew on your fogged up shower mirror, and I know the minute I closed your door you began to forget me.
It won’t be long before I’m just another faded memory and you’ll have trouble remembering my name. You’ll find someone who likes your music and knows how to talk to you even when you’re sober. She won’t bug you to read her favourite books or watch romantic comedies and you won’t find her boring. I’ll keep looking for that perfect cup of coffee while I watch you move on without me.