Hope’s Disappointment

I met you eleven mornings ago. I get on at 72nd street every morning. Stand clear of the closing doors. I don’t know where you get on, but you’re almost always there. I like how you change your tie every day, and how your pants are never too short. I like how you look in blue and how you’re not afraid of cranberry red. I like that you carry an umbrella when it’s cloudy. I like that you pack yourself a lunch.

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On the third day, when the express train was late and the local was slower than slow, we had something of an intimate introduction. It seems like we’d fit nicely. Life as a sardine — it wouldn’t be half bad. I like that you brush your teeth just before you head out the door.

On the sixth day, you handed me a section of your newspaper: The Wall Street Journal’s Off Duty. This was a very, very good guess. (I’m impressed.) You seem to like listening to the Beatles while you scan the headlines. (I approve.)

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On the ninth day, you asked me how I like my coffee, and the next morning when the doors opened, there you were, with two cups. Hot but not too hot.

You look like a Ben. Or a Matt. If I asked, would you have dinner with me? I’d love to feed you. Look, I’ve already fixed you a plate.

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Cookies are a good foundation — wouldn’t you agree? But in truth, Boy-Who-Is-Not-Yet-Named, there’s another boy that I’m still trying to forget. I’m not sure if this is a good place to start.

One day, I’ll be able to write a letter to the boy that it always comes back to. The one who doesn’t read this blog. The one who makes me think about special occasion cakes, and every-other bites.

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This boy — the one who left a handprint on my heart — he’s the one I think about when I walk to work in the rain. When the city is mostly still, when soft silhouettes share toast and jam and pass butter and sprinkle salt.

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I’ll pick the right words, and I’ll put them in the right order, and this boy will know that I’m saying sorry, to both of us, for how long it took for me to let things go. He will know that I’m saying goodbye to the part of myself that misses him so much. He will know that I’m saying goodbye to hope. Hope’s disappointment, too.

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