Fiction 500 | Short Stories

I Tried to Write You a Letter at 3 a.m., But I Wrote You a Poem Instead

Remember that time we had afternoon sex and then stayed in bed, naked, just to talk? God, how I adored the sound of your voice. Or that other time, when we lounged all night on that old leather sofa in a borrowed cabin in the woods? We stayed awake into the wee hours staring into a crackling-hot fire, discussing the particle theory of light, of all things. You said, "You're falling asleep, go to bed," but instead I kissed you, and we made love right there on the sofa. Another time, I recall waking up in a strange bed and you weren't there, but then I found you in the living room under a pile of blankets, and I spooned you under the blankets as the sun came up, and you said, "Breathe on my neck again, that felt nice." And how about that time we shared a tray of pit barbecue at that roadside joint in the Catskills and talked about podcast analytics, of all things? Am I crazy, or wasn’t that the same mountain town where we drove from store to store one evening trying to find you some decent chocolate (and me some decent red wine)? Second thought, no—that was the town where we ate brunch in that little cafe with the tatted-up waitstaff, and we talked about bad marriages, naturally, then strolled around the farmer's market, arm-in-arm. I joked that we were the whitest people on Earth, and you showed me strange cruciferous vegetables, then you said, "Hey:—buy me an apple for my drive home," and my heart swelled and I replied, "At once, and happily," and you smiled. Unless I'm mistaken, that was the October when such terrible shit was happening in the world—more terrible than usual, for innocents were being slaughtered—and we tried to take the dog for a Sunday morning hike but couldn't find the trailhead, so we walked her up a long, steep country road in the cold under a gray autumn sky and played fetch with her at the summit, which was muddy and strewn with newly felled trees, while talking about jealousy and monogamy, obstacles and distance, Maine and Manhattan, and could "we" even work, logistically? We could, I said. You didn't disagree, but you challenged me—and rightly so—saying things like, "Aren't you doing what you always do with women?" and "You've convinced yourself I'm so great, but you'll see," and "You say it's different with me, but is it?" and I felt you slipping away from me and thought, "This is a moment I will try to forget for a very long time."