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You hadn’t seen your kids in three weeks, and you missed their last phone call. It isn’t that you didn’t want to see them, you did, you always do. You made an effort to be home when she said they’d call, but she changed the time without telling you. You miss your dog and your hot water pressure and the way the kids lit up when you got home from work. Your love life is loveless and non existent, you only have the memories to sustain you and you wonder if you imagined it all. But you didn’t imagine them, and the way they look a bit like your father and speak just like you did, when you still had faith in the world and love wasn’t yet a question.
You look for the little things in life to sustain you, and that’s when I met you. I had no idea the pain you feel in your life because it’s masked behind the kindness that you show to me. You display a deep concern for me, not in the paternalistic way that I’d hate, but just in the way that you care for a friend. You ask me how my day was, even when you just found out your child was flunking school since the separation. I don’t know the guilt, anguish and the hint of anger that you wake up with every day because you feel that you failed them. I don’t know that you still roll over to stroke her hair at 6am only to remember she isn’t there and she never will be again. You wonder behind your kind eyes if the pillow beside yours is just a cruel reminder that you may end up alone, without the scent of floral shampoo to comfort you.
You bring me wine and you treat me as you wish you still could a lover, and I still can’t sense the pain as you walk away from me, unable to return until the lawyers settle things with her and you have cashflow again. I don’t know what you’re going through and you spare me the load because for a moment you just want to forget that your life has a different meaning than before. You shower me with the affection you long for and you spoil me with the gifts you no longer can give to a stranger you once loved.
We dine together and you ask me questions and learn about me, to deflect from yourself and to escape for a moment the memory of the meals you once shared with your family. We feed and we fuck and we fool around, to take you back to the time before. When life was still fun and love didn’t become loss and nothing felt too heavy to carry.
I’m here for you John when you need me. You’ll never tell me, because you respect me and want to keep our affair fun and flirty and light. You will never tell me because you want to escape and to forget. You wish I understood but the words do not come and you don’t think that they should - not here. But I know John, not in what you say and not in what you do, but because pain is buried in the eyes and I see you. I’ll be here on my little island in rough seas, when you are tired of swimming, float my way and for a time, we won’t hear the waves or the cries of all those we left behind.