Days gone by with mood hugging the center. Barely a thought and weeks unbroken by longing. Then she said, “You know I miss you, right? In case you were wondering.” She’d never said that before. 

It was just a series of words at the time offered by this woman who was once the love of my life, but is now a seldom seen friend. The unrequited flame of love had tampered down to soft embers.

The next morning, I woke from a nightmare, I can’t remember what it was about. Throughout the day my mind turned to her again, and that old ache came beating to the surface. Those old dreams and fragile yearnings. The loneliness that surrounds them like a tunnel on the freeway. My half moon wavered and then waned back to new.

I retreated to my cave and watched things that made me laugh. Then she sent me a video of a farting robot. I hadn’t laughed that hard since I saw her last. It’s amazing how love can give others our switches. At the mercy of another’s moods and affections. I’d like to think I could turn away from it and live a quiet life alone, never getting close enough to anyone to fall in love.

But what is there without it, without the joys and pains of a heart that’s no longer its own possession? Sitting in silence, thoughts untangle themselves. Spreading out like sparks from a nighttime blaze. A momentary glimpse, a spring wind in the winter. The ghost of a chance at the myth of autonomy.

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