An Old Navy Bathrobe

He moved in today, a first for both of us. 

I loved seeing the book case fully stocked with his haughty titles. I have to remind myself it’s not pretend. They look better up there than my books, anyway. 

He was never very courteous about how much he claimed of mine. It started in 2014 when he nonchalantly cooked me that steak dinner and poured us wine. For him it was routine- for me, a landslide, a flood – things just would never be the same for me. 

Dec. 6, 2014

He lived with three other guys then in a prewar building on the Upper West Side. The bedroom was on the right, just down the old railroad hallway from the bathroom.

I fell in love with him, insatiable about the time we spent together. He impressed me and charmed me with his witty, insolent indifference. I spent so long acknowledging he could live without me.

Nov 24, 2014

It was two years later when he came back, staying at my place every day and drinking too much. I still couldn’t reach him. I didn’t need to look for excuses to leave.

Yet, a spark exploded between us by my old white stove when we kissed… and I knew it was far from over between us. Then, there were the texts. He was so empty at the point. I knew it was more likely than not he would never become the guy I hoped he’d be by now.

It’s been a long time since the crumbling studio in the Heights. We both saw other people, at least a few seriously. There were many months we didn’t speak and even more we found ourselves in each others arms, as if it were by mistake.

We grew up together in a way — he learned responsibility and I learned forgiveness. We navigated problems my parents never did. The soundtrack was Thelonious Monk and the bubbling of a rich tomato sauce brewing on the stove.

Today he dug out that old navy robe, its pocket fringed, partly dislodged from the left side.

The smell hit me, intoxicating my already muddled mind. It was mature, made of wood and clutter, the cool railroad hallway of the winter of 2014. It breathed the simplicity of our infatuation. Fresh cookies from the Jewish bakery at the end of my block in the village. Nervous smiles to his roommates as I dashed in that same robe down the hallway to the right.

He always feels solid and broad in my arms. In the ratty thing, he felt like warm plush velvet on my fingertips.

He told me, holding me, quietly and half joking, “Maybe this can get our spark back.”

What happened to our spark? Knowing it was me who’d lost it.

“Nothing’s happened. We’ve been through so much and things are just different now.”

It’s true, we were together, but I didn’t come out unscathed. It got so ugly between us. I spent so long trying to prove our worth to people who wouldn’t understand why we needed each other.

It all uncorked like champagne, then spilling down my face, hot and wet.

I didn’t expect to have a reaction like this. It was an unceremonious day. The latest iteration of us living together, only for real this time. It’s always been hard to nail down our landmarks. We don’t celebrate anniversaries – which date would we even pick?

He held me, like he does so often now, healing so much more than the wounds we earned from each other. He is warm and soft and mine. Our love was never easy but finding out way back to each other always was.

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