I wrote this little piece for my Goodreads M/M Romance group flash fiction. Only two people wrote comments, to say it made them sad (one wanted to cry). I know I should be glad it elicited emotion from readers, that’s what writing is all about. But I feel really bad it made them sad. I’d love comments on this. The prompt was:
We didn’t realize what we had back then, wasted it, gave up, thinking that the first imperfection was a reason to split. That we needed perfection. Years later, I know that nothing can always be perfect, but that what we had was special. So when I suddenly saw you again after all these years, I could not believe my eyes … 🙂
And this is what I wrote:
“It seems so trite now. Who cares where we would have lived? As long as we were together. I can’t believe neither one of us gave in. We were so young and silly. We didn’t know we had it so good. Seeing you last week in the metro in the train going east for two seconds made it all come back. I saw you again today. I wonder where you’re going.
So you’re in Montreal again. I guess city life didn’t kill you after all. Or maybe it’s slowly draining your life away like you thought it would.
Do you have a family? A boyfriend? A dog? Did you finally sell our house at a huge profit? Did you keep the mural I painted in the living room or did you paint over it the minute I left? Are your parents still alive?
Do you miss me? Do you think of me sometimes, like I think of you? Do you ever wonder what if? What if we hadn’t split up? What if you would have agreed to move to Montreal with me? What if I would have stayed in Sainte-Catherine with you?
I loved you, so much. I think – no I know you loved me too. And we threw it all away.
I wanted to call you, to tell you I regretted my decision, I wanted to come back, I felt so alone in Montreal in my small but trendy apartment.
Of course I didn’t. I was too proud to admit I made a mistake. After all, I was the one who felt like I was suffocating and had to move back to the city. You’re the one who didn’t want to come with me.
You broke my heart. I probably broke yours by leaving. We had promised each other forever and I left.
I hoped and prayed you would come to your senses – yeah I know, I was arrogant. I had fantasies that you phoned, crying, telling me you couldn’t live without me; or that you’d show up on my doorstep with a suitcase and you’d rush into my open arms.
I saw you in the street, at the store, at the market, in the park, I saw you everywhere. Any guy with long, curly brown hair was you. I went mad.
And still I didn’t call. Then time flew by and it was most probably too late, you had most likely met someone; I’d make a fool of myself.
Twelve years have come and gone.
You’re still gorgeous. You still make my heart pound. You looked tired today and I wanted to take you in my arms and rock you gently, comfort you. It was a fleeting moment, but I felt it all the same.
I was with Noah for eight years. He’s a great guy. You’d probably like him. He wasn’t you. There’s no one like you. I’m sorry I was such a jerk. If only I could make it up to you.
I saw you yesterday at the McGill station. You were seated across from me, in the metro going west, on the other side.
You haven’t changed. You’re so beautiful. There’s grey hair mixed in with the chestnut now. It makes you look even more sophisticated. It makes me feel even less worthy.
Do you remember me? The guy from Hicksville who was afraid of loud noises and fast cars? I remember you. Every single day.
I was so impressed by you. You were going places, you were expected to succeed in the great big world. Your clothes, your hair, your car, your speech. I was in awe of you. You weren’t meant to live in the boonies with one shopping centre to serve a whole small city. Montreal called to you. I heard it every time we visited your folks, every time your friends phoned, every time you looked for something in our unique drug store and couldn’t find it, every time you sighed as you opened the front door at the end of the day.
I knew I couldn’t keep you. I knew I had to let you fly away towards the skyscrapers where you could perch and watch your city live and breathe twenty-four hours a day. I couldn’t drag you in mediocrity with me.
It broke me. The house was suddenly too big, too quiet. I couldn’t sell it and move though, I couldn’t leave your mural behind. Your blood and guts were on that living room wall and I couldn’t bear to think of someone else living with it, with you; and I couldn’t cover it either.
I sat watching that painting and cried my heart out for a whole year. My mom begged me to sell. I couldn’t.
I finally sold the house last year. I received an offer I couldn’t refuse (The Godfather still your favourite movie?) and moved to Montreal. I painted over the mural before moving. It was mine, all I had left of you, and if I couldn’t bring it with me, I couldn’t leave it either.
Matt told me about Noah. I knew you’d meet someone worthy of you. I wasn’t an idiot; you were too special to be alone for long. I expected it to be someone more in your league, someone in advertising, or designing. I was right.
I was happy for you. I was also devastated.
Even if I didn’t have any hope of you ever looking back, it nearly killed me.
Things are good now. I date on and off. Guys I meet in bars, in the supermarket, on the internet. Never anything serious. I tell myself I don’t have time for a relationship but we both know that’s not true. I can’t help but compare them to you and they all pale in comparison.
I know now I should have held onto you. I should have followed you to the ends of the earth. I should have fought for you.
I’m ready now, to fight for you. I looked you up on Facebook five minutes ago. Your status says single. I guess Noah’s not in the picture anymore. I’m thinking I’ll send you a private message and see if you remember me. If you do, I’ll invite you for coffee, just to catch up, you know, just old friends. Then I’ll tell you I never forgot you, I always loved you, I still love you. And see what happens. “