I’m wearing your old jacket. Remember? The one you used to fish in. The one with the tear in the silk of the right-hand pocket. You used to tease me. You used to say that this jacket kept your loose change safe from my chocolate addiction. You being left-handed; me being right.
I bury my face in the nap of the moleskin collar. My nostrils fill with your scent - stale cologne, a hint of woodsmoke, and...fish. More disconcerting than unpleasant, it’s all I can do not to choke on my memories of you. Of me and you. Together.
'Tell me, how can I be, now that you alone are gone and I am left behind?'
I feel like I’ve been abandoned in a foreign capital with nothing more than the clothes I stand up in and a wallet full of the wrong kind of currency. The day is drawing to a close. My luggage has disappeared with the exhaust from the bus which took off before I could catch my breath and explain my dilemma - that I’m not sure where I’m going or even where I’ve been. Lately.
Maybe a kindness will point me in the right direction. An open-all-hours diner on an inner-city corner, snuggled in between the high-rise office blocks. Maybe I’ll have enough cash for a meal and a trail of hot, sweet tea to lead me into tomorrow. Maybe I’ll close my eyes and remember where I’m supposed to be and what I should be doing.
And just maybe, as the rhythm of the traffic slows and the night progresses, I’ll find some peace in the ever-changing cityscape. A time-lapse production of late revellers, harried shift workers, the dispossessed and restless; until finally the earliest commuters and exercise fanatics emerge from the riverside neighbourhoods to face the new dawn.
‘Hey, lady.’ A disgruntled voice shatters my reverie. 'I ain’t got all day, y’know.' Scrambling for cash, I reach deep into your left-hand pocket and find...***...a limp fifty-dollar bill...and a battered envelope. There’s a note scrawled on the outside in your familiar hand:
'How can you be, now that I alone have gone and you are left behind? The short answer is: you will be. For you are as singular and complete today as you were before 'mine' became 'yours' and 'I' became 'we'. My darling, I’m no tourist. You know how impatient I can get - always taking the most direct route. I’m just out of sight around the next corner. You take your time and meet me when you’re ready. Sometime...later. Whenever. I’ll be waiting.'
Stunned, I mutter an apology to the waitress and step out from the warm fug of the café into a bright, fresh New York morning. The doorbell tings shut behind me and I realise with new-found clarity that I know exactly where I am. I’m home. It’s not going to be a great day but it’ll be a better one, which is a start. Besides I have things to do - chocolate to buy, a jacket to launder, and a needle to thread.
This started out as a haiku...and turned into 500 words of I’m not sure what. Probably not poetry. I’ve seen a smattering of very long pieces on HePo - about this length - and thought I’d post it anyway. Otherwise it will just gather dust. :)