I Stopped Talking To You

I stopped talking to you because you loved me. I was wearing a light blue angora sweater, pink chemise showing slightly at the hips, my hair flipped perfectly in the dry winter air and my red chucks barely keeping my feet warm. I grabbed my blue felt inuit coat off the seat and bolted as the last words of the lecture carried over the room. You followed me out, tried to talk to me outside the building. I pretended nothing was wrong, it was just the cigarette smoke I couldn’t stand. I had to finish the reading before my next class. You could try to call me later but I might be busy.

A month later a mutual friend inquired on your behalf. I told her I didn’t know why I was being shitty. It was just a mood. I’d get over it. I didn’t.

You wanted, waited, hoped, expected, passively pushed. I couldn’t find the feeling again. Each conversation had a search party for my words, time, eyes, any sign of life. I missed the way we were before I realized I wouldn’t feel the same way. Before we stalled, before you pushed, before you tried to annex me. I changed my seat, my stance, my routes. I disappeared and I did not come back until your hurt had turned into anger and spite. I waited until I was satisfied you were involved with someone worthwhile. The next time we really talked you spoke only of your studies and of her. Of the parties you’d been going to together. I talked about the papers I was writing, the parties I was going to, the early spring sunshine. You barely listened and left sooner than you had to. I was pleased. I was ready to be friends again.

You started coming to my parties but only because my roommate invited you. I talked to our friends within your earshot. I was friendly and you got to be standoffish. I got to meet your girlfriend out at a bar one night. I got to tell you I thought she was fantastic. My roommate would tell me a few weeks later it wasn’t real. You still had feelings for me. I told her she was wrong, that you loved her and were doing well.  There was nothing in my life I needed to shield you from so it was easy to give you the upper hand. We became friendly again but not close like before.

After I transferred and you graduated we wrote each other letters. Mine weren’t honest. I would come to regret yet forget whatever it was I wrote, those words lost forever to stationary.

It’s probably for the best that we’ve refused to let each other go over the years, held together by whatever impulse it is that tells you to keep those great, unrealized loves close. There are things we’ll never get to talk about even when we want to, past motives and feelings faded with time and infidelity.

If we ever share space and time again I cannot place bets on what will happen. Probably nothing at first, then some version of the same thing that came before. What failed to take off once will fail to take off again.