All I can do is keep breathing.
This is what he sent me after three months of radio silence.
After seeing each other again after three months of avoidance and distant vigilance.
After valiantly yet unsuccessfully, desperately forcing myself to ignore his sudden presence at the bar and maintain the air of gaiety I had so long been trying to muster.
After so many beers and a shot of whiskey to calm my frayed and anxious nerves upon the unexpected sight of him.
And it was the alcohol that did me in, gave fall to the rise I had dreamed of having since the day he walked out on me.
I resent the fact that I had not been sober the moment we reunited.
In my drunken state, I am boisterous and carefree. I laugh openly, smile brightly at all whom I encounter.
Welcome any of those present with warm and open arms.
This was not the gesture I meant to extend upon our abrupt and unexpected reunion.
- - -
A vibration in my pocket.
His name on my phone.
A sudden tap on my shoulder.
An instinctive turn of the head.
Arms embracing naturally.
An involuntary smile on my lips.
Just wanted to say hi before I left.
Still wrapped in our embrace.
Those familiar arms around my waist.
We put your gift on top of our tree.
His lips near my ear.
A sudden catch in my throat.
That smile still on my face.
My lips near his ear.
Thank you, that means a lot to me.
Arms pulling away.
See you around.
Eyes return to the show.
I start to tremble.
Are you okay?
I can’t stop shaking.
I don’t know.
- - -
That was not the gesture I had meant to extend.
- - -
This is what it must feel like to face the end of the world. To look back at the world you thought you knew and know it’s not yours anymore.
Some sailors spent their Veterans Day night getting free food from participating restaurants.
I spent mine in an ER bed.