1. i'm crouching in front of an apartment building in midtown. it's 2am, and hot, and the streets are empty. upstairs, he's pretending not to hear his phone ringing. upstairs, he's alone but the walls are covered in yellow post-its that his girlfriend has left behind. post-its that remind him she's always there, even when she's back in london. i'll see you soon, darling. downstairs, i'm crying. an hour ago i was on the 19th floor, resting my head against his chest and begging him to run away with me. he laughed sadly and shook his head. he loved me, sure, but he was much older than my idealistic, crazy twenty- three. downstairs, i stand up and start walking toward eighth avenue, and i want to hail a cab but i end up walking home -- the saddest, most final of my walks of shame, turns out.
2. he went to mexico with a bunch of his guy friends. the night before he held my hand as we walked into his place in the village, his unfurnished brand new bachelor pad. when i get back i'll make you a key, he said, and we laid down on the bare floor, on top of his leather jacket. he was a model but had secret aspirations of being an architect. when he confessed this on the night we met, i smiled dryly, as if somehow he'd get through the toil of having his picture taken to be strung up on a billboard in times square. you'll get through it, i said, and he raised his eyebrows because i was sassy and he liked it. inside, my heart was thumping like it was about to collapse because his face was more beautiful than anything i'd seen. but he went to mexico. and when he came back, it wasn't to me. he never called me again. i wept into a thousand pillow cases. weeks later i spotted him in the same club we'd met. i was drunk and sat down right next to him and my closure came in the form of a sloppy reaming out. you're an asshole, i said, and that's a hard thing to be when you're canadian. good luck with building boats. i got up and my sister put her arm around my shoulders.
3. i'm not in love with you anymore but we can still have sex. for a minute, i consider.
4. an asshole from Argentina feeds me lovely lines. he swears repeatedly that he's dumped her, swears she's no good and that i am better than the sun. he fondles me under the awning of my apartment building at 4am, and he sleeps till noon the next day, and always forgets to call me. i forgive him because forgiveness is another day, another kiss, a sign that i have something he can't shake. but he shakes me off easily & for good, and later i cringe at how low i'd sunk, in the name of love.
5. when he leaves my dorm, he leaves little handwritten notes tucked under my pillow, just because. he is the first guy who loves words as much as me, and he sure has a way with them. i don't like when he grows his yellow beard, i don't like his thick thumbs, but the rest of him is wonderful. especially his little poems with my name in them. he goes abroad for a semester, and then, forever. it is a little blue breakup, and it makes me wistful and glum. but it comes with a bit of maturity on my part, some grace and dignity. i don't wilt in the aftermath and this is a new and hopeful thing. i can, in fact, exist without him, and without the others. it is a lesson learned: the heart regenerates with the best of them. the road to love is a winding one, 'til you reach the end and you reach The One.
This post originally ran on the author's Tumblr, This Old Dag.