I think about him sometimes, in the middle of August. On a streetcar. On my way to nowhere in particular. Or on my home home from someone else’s bedroom. And it always starts small, like when you turn your heat on for the first time sometime in November. I can hear the furnace click, click, clicking in the basement; I’m seeing the way he laughed at his own jokes, am only half remembering the direction the hair on his arms grew; it’s still distant though, somewhere off in some faraway basement. It comes with that weird first-heat-of-the-season-smell. But as I start to recall the particular deodorant he used, the way his lips looked when he said my name, the way his hand looked in my lap, slipping down between my legs, I hear the furnace whooosh and roar to life. I’m suddenly too hot; too full of him. I feel like I have a fever. He’s staring at me while I drink too many vodkas. He’s watching me as I admire the shower in his hotel room. He’s touching me while I undo my pants but forget to untie my shoes and stand there awkwardly unsure if I should fix this problem or just go with it. He’s got his fingers in my mouth as I try to tell him about my day. He’s pulling my shirt over my head as I’m trying to determine what he looks like when he lies. He’s burning tongue in my mouth and scorching hands in my hair. He’s all warm thighs and hot cock. He’s all over me and I’m over-heating. I need to breathe, I can’t breathe, I’m rushing, tripping, falling, calling him.
“Oh. I uh, hey. I meant to call my parents, your numbers are almost the same. Weird, eh?” That’s not true at all. I told him I’d never lie to him, but does that even matter anymore? I feel myself vigorously nodding yes, but I ignore me.
"Yeah, really weird. Long time no talk. How are you?” He puts the emphasis on the word “are” and it sounds too genuine, exactly like the ladies at work who want to know about my weekends; “Tell us everything,” because they genuinely want to remember what it was like to be a pretty, young thing. He’s asking for the same reason Phyllis and Gladys ask: completely for their own benefit.
"Me? Oh, I am so great,” I look around the nearly empty streetcar, realize all I want in this moment is to let him know he didn’t break me as much as he believes and for him to somehow hear how hard I’m smiling. So I grin as wide as I can, show too much teeth, make my cheeks hurt, “But I have to go do this thing now, it’s really important and time-sensitive. You know how that is.”
He does know because he would always have deadlines to meet; always end our conversations too soon; always have to leave so early, before I was even out of bed; always got confused with the meaning of words like “forever” and “tomorrow”; as in I’ll call you tomorrow, I’ll love you forever. Time was something he understood, but at the same time had no concept of.
"Oh. Okay. Well it was great talking to you. Great to hear your voice. Talk to you soon, yeah?" He hangs up without waiting for me to respond, for me to say something that would embarrass us both, to start to cry, to mumble why did you leave me? to mention my sex life, to mention his cock, to mention my mouth around his cock. He knows me too well.
Or maybe he just heard how happy I was without him?