from the memoir

You once said we would always be parallel roads that sometimes intersect; I always wanted the intersection to last forever, but it never did. Our togetherness quickly followed by our separation. This pattern of departure and reunion that we cannot escape. How it haunts us as we haunt each other.

It’s not easy. Living this life without you. But I’m learning despite the memories of us that saturate all of what I want to be — which is to say, someone without you.

Tonight, I’m driving on the Edens, the city of Chicago sprawled out like an accordion. The windows are rolled down, and I can smell you in this afternoon’s rain. Puddles and puddles of all that we used to be. There’s a song on the radio, one you once said reminded you of me, and I am singing along to the words you used to sing:

A thousand other boys could never reach you / How could I have been the one?

I am imagining you in the profile of the stranger in the car next to me. He wears his hat the way you did, those years when I knew you, when we knew each other like the words to this song, by heart.

When I drive, I think of you. Always. This city — how its rhythms became our music and you became mine like a song stuck in my head, your lyrics trapped within the deepest corners of me, my ribcage the harp you keep strumming, even when you’re 1800 miles away.