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  • We always lived in summer night. The hazy orange glow of the streetlights enveloped us, a golden sheen on your face while you walked me home. Always pushing the curfew, five minutes longer, just five minutes to hold you in my gaze a little longer.

    The summers wrote our story. My hands became yours, your hands became fire licking at the secret corners of my body no one had ever touched. We embraced. We kissed. We held. I love you. I love you. Can you hear me?, my silent mantra.

    And when if only for the night, you left, you walked away ten steps. You turned around to run back to my arms one more, two more, three more times. Every night.

    I whispered those tiny words under the streetlight one night, and our universe was changed.

    One night the neighbor’s cat jumped between us in a sleeping bag while we looked at stars in my parents’ yard. We let him stay.

    One night I felt that magnetic pull inside me for the first time.

    One night I read your unsent letters to me while I’d been away on vacation.

    One night a year had passed. Then two.

    One night I gave you everything in quiet sighs. The tent walls were thin enough to let the neighbors’ headlamps in. I marveled at your face.

    One night I laid in the hammock, alone in the sleeping bag. I don’t remember where you were. You’d stopped running back when you left, no more desperate need to feel me hold you one more time. I heard my own voice in the song by Death Cab, and knew our tiny prayers to Father Time had always been unheard.

    One night I realized I no longer recognized your face.

    One night I knew our future from the backseat of his car. You sat ahead of me, the orange light of the streetlamps a halo, aureolic in the glare. I knew it was for me to decide. I knew that if I wanted things to change, they surely would. I did.

    One night you were away with friends and I betrayed you. The first of deepening lies fell from my lips, the electricity of the candied jealous touching minutes before hanging between the three of us in the common air in his car.

    One night I slipped away. I left you letters filled with other people’s poetry, my own insufficient. I fasted involuntarily, the guilt burning my guts the only bitter soup to be my penance. I willed you to understand.

    Tonight I saw a happy picture of you with her. Years past, hurt gone, eyes shining. May she be worthy of you, and always run back to your arms one more time.
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