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  • Dear Cupcake,

    The Castro is changing, since you left, more straights have moved into the neighborhood, young families, with babies, children, strollers, we, who still languish here, are all getting older, i saw my first sprinkle of salt on my head today, in the mirror, can you believe, i will be forty this year, when we first met, I was only twenty-six, silicon valley was booming, the world trade center was still erect, two fingers, jabbing against the sky.

    Do you ever miss the wisteria, the trellis of roses, we planted in the backyard, sometimes, I walk by our old place, and i will see ghosts, the two of us, in that Edwardian flat, the bay windows, overlooking Dolores Park, how often, i would slumber on the couch, the pulsing heat of the afternoon sun, the way the palm trees, swayed in the wind, their fronds, like helicopter propellers, and, always at dusk, the crescendo of fog, surfing down Twin Peaks, like an ocean wave, foamy white, against an azure sky.

    You taught me how to cook salmon, your bananna cream pie was always delicious, and the wine we drank, the woozy times we had together, we wavered between friends and lovers, on those cold, teeth biting, nights, you crawled into my bed, under layers of wool blankets, we watched old films, Hitchcock, Fellini, & Kurosawa, i always loved that feeling of being adrift, dozing in your arms, the murmuring sound of the television, and your downy skin, the percussion of your heart. Beating.

    I still remember that day, when you cooked us that lovely dinner, a rack of lamb with rosemary and thyme, a cucumber tomato salad with mint, you even lit the candles, flickering, the shadow of your profile against the white eggshell wall, the kitchen, flushed with heat from the oven, that evening, you proposed: Why don't we become boyfriends.

    I laughed, thinking you were jesting, and then, i saw how your eyes winced.

    You were serious.

    But then you started laughing too, just one big joke, and the moment lapsed, disappearing like water swirling down the toilet.

    I know. It's too late now. More than a decade has passed since we last saw each other.

    But I want to tell you this now: I too wanted more than just our juvenile groping.

    The moment when I first saw you, when I responded to your craigslist advertisement for a roommate, when you opened the door, I was already enchanted. Your blue eyes. Your British accent.

    But I was scared.

    Fear does strange things to people. It's not always rational. Sometimes, you may come close to getting what you have always wanted but the fear of loss is stronger than the hope of gain.

    And so even though I had knocked on the door of love for so many years, when it finally opened, I chose to walk away.

    I hope you will forgive me.


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