The end was a hurt, a low throbbing of the temples, a panic in the chest.
The end was a purple circle, an eye sunken in more deeply into its socket than the day before.
The end was an end; the end was “The End.”
The end was a notebook underneath a mattress we lifted up to pull the sheets over them, beige and freshly cleaned and still smelling faintly of detergent.
The end was when the words scribbled in slanting, harsh ink entered into my mind, into my soul, burned itself into my face.
The end was when I looked back up at him, and in my face, he saw something had changed.
The end was when he pushed me against the wall in a dark corner, glow lights like floating heads in the darkness around us, when I felt the heat of his chest, the controlled strength of his hands pressed against my hips.
The end was a feeling.
The end was his roommate’s 21st birthday celebration at a club in downtown Atlanta, when we looked out over the balcony at the sprawling city waiting below us, waiting for us, alive. When we talked about our futures, our careers. I was to be an English professor – he, a corporate lawyer, a politician, a businessman, anything lucrative. I would do what I love, he would create our life with the profits gleaned from a more conventional career path.
The end was when he left for Prague, or when I left for Spain, when we stopped speaking on the phone every day, when the connection fell flat and disintegrated.
The end was when I socked him in the face.
The end was when I read the words that spelled her name, the girl before me, and how he had missed her---was it when we had been falling in love?
The end was when I learned he described my body not as beautiful but “full figured” – for these were the truth, the contents of the mind.
In theory, the end in our story was written
before we had even begun.