And then suddenly I’m standing at your door again. How did I get here? I don’t understand. One moment I was out for a walk, clearing my head in another part of the city, and now I’m back here.
Instinct tells me I should ring the bell or knock because those are the things that you do when you’re standing in front of your girlfriend’s door, on the wrong side of it, not sure if she’s even still your girlfriend. Do I want to ring the bell? Do I want to talk to you? I’m not sure why I’m even thinking about it. Hell, I don’t know how I even got here—
But then you open the door. You’re not looking, at first. You’ve got that purse I gave you slung over your shoulder like you’re going out, going out to do something. Like you’re going to a club, but you’re not dressed for the club—where are you going? Where do you happen to be going right now? I think in the split-second it takes you to see me.
And then your whole face changes—everything. For a minute, I think you think this is the part of the movie where I’ve come back and we don’t even have to talk, you’re just gonna put your hand on my lips, “Shhh,” and then kiss me.
But then I guess you remember.
“Hey,” you tell me, desperately trying to make it sound neutral.
“Hey,” I croak, desperately trying the same and failing, flailing, thinking How the hell did I even get here?
You readjust the strap of your purse so it doesn’t slide right off your shoulder. “What are you doing here?” You sound surprised, but not unpleasantly—not delighted, but not horrified.
“I don’t know,” I confess to you, and there’s something about standing here, dripping wet from the rain, saying those words, that makes me feel like the very worst thing about Hollywood movies.
“Do you…” You’re looking at me, looking at my lips, looking from my chest and shoulders to my eyes, then quickly looking away, looking back inside. “Did you want to come in?”
“No.” I don’t even want to be here, don’t know how I got here, but I don’t want to sound crazy.
“Do you want to talk about it?” You’re doing that thing now, shifting your weight, tipping your toes, like you do when you’re nervous. One of those things I always loved about y—
“No,” I say, and turn to leave.
“Wait—“ you say. You say my name. “Please!” Take my hand.
Why did you have to take my hand? “I shouldn’t even be here,” I whisper.
You hear me and say, “Shhh,” taking the opportunity to move in closer, wrapping yourself around my arm. You say my name again, quietly, not to calm me down, but tenderly, like I’m already calm and you’re trying to savor.
But I’m not calm. So I reclaim my arm from you. I force you to look me in the eyes. I look in your right eye, the one that’s on my left, but you’re doing that thing where you’re shifting back and forth, not sure which eye you want to focus on.
You’re frightened. You’re scared of me and your fear is justified.
I ask you, “Why?” and I watch your face break into a thousand million pieces I don’t want to pick up because each broken bit is a memory and I realize too late I don’t want any answers.
But you give them to me anyway. You remind me what a jerk I was, that I never did like to take responsibility, but then just as I turn to go, to leave in disgrace, you stop me again and you tell me all the wonderful things I once knew about myself but forgot after what you did, after what happened between us, stuff only you could know, only you could remind me of, and that’s when I start to think, you know, maybe whatever brought me here tonight knew what it was doing.