This meeting is not so different from the first. We come to each other as strangers again. The only difference is that the first time, other people’s hands had cracked our hearts, and this time, the pain is of our own making. This time, what separates us are the seven months since I have seen you. You’ve had a birthday. I’m recovering from a biking accident, and my left knee will never be the same. No time at all and still enough for us to grow out of each other.Carmen Ye l on seeing someone you love again
I wonder how I will seem to you. This shirt is new. These highlights are new. This small talk, that is new, too. I tell you I’ve moved. You tell me about your fifth floor walk-up. These are things we should have already known about each other.
Everything about this is hard. You are in front of me with that laugh and those eyes, and I know I will cry about this later. But right now, I am too proud to uncross my arms and ask the questions burning the back of my throat. ‘What about her made you so excited? What about her made you want to stay? Do you search my features the same way I search yours for someone I will recognize?’
I’m still silently asking you to give me a mold to fill. Maybe I was too vulnerable for you last time. We were not quiet in the same ways. Tell me when this thunder inside me became too deafening. Tell me when you stopped wanting to find me at the heart of the storm. I’ll tell you when I started to give away the pieces of myself you handed back to me.
But I chose this. I’ve got a life sentence for being a glutton for punishment. I chose to see you again, to test whether my fists would unclench in your presence. And slowly, they loosened. These nail marks will fade, and someday, I won’t be scared to say your name next to someone else’s.