Love Letter to the Places We've Walked
Note for her and Saint Louis
(you remember how I am) Dressed in all black, a hoodie I never got back, and striped Adidas sneakers.
I watch you cross the street with worry on your face and a heavy backpack over your shoulder.
You walk past my car, glance at my Nebraska plates, and start to get into your gray CRV.
Oh, shit. That’s Juliana. We messaged on Tinder and my responses had been flakey.
You either go up to her now or you message her later like an indie boy after a concert…“Hey, I saw you tonight, but I was too shy to say hi”…
Your response: annoyed and stark and made me laugh. “What?!” I hear from across the lot.
I give you a hug and hide my smile.
You were smiley then, a twinkle of amazement in your eyes.
“You’re adorable.” I read on my way home.
I sit outside the coffee shop at the small rod iron tables.
I wonder if the stranger nearby could sense the nervousness from my hands, which could not seem to find a natural place in my lap.
We order our coffee and begin the lap around the set of streets we would frequent more times than not in the upcoming months.
I try and guess your zodiac sign on the dimly lit bench, and Leo was one of the last.
You sense my shakiness, ease into my nervousness and tell me it's okay over a beer you never drank.
I can't read the way you flirt with me, and lose all notions of how to flirt back.
I want to know what you are really thinking; I want conversation to be easy with you.
You finally say enough to my coyness and kiss me in your car.
We meet in the peak of Saint Louis summer humidity for lunch.
I self-consciously slurp up worm-like noodles and you try to ask me questions.
We begin our second walk along the paths of Tower Grove Park, already misted in sweat.
We don't hold hands yet; the memory of the night in your car temporarily put on hold.
As we claim a wooden picnic table and sit on the same side, my legs spread over the bench to face you.
I told you in the alley I wasn’t much for PDA as I drape myself across your waist, and you laugh from the obvious hypocrisy.
We rest on the concrete Church steps, our backpacks leaning against levels of stone.
As the sun fades and we laugh, my fingers find their way to yours.
we make plans here; cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Share the responsibility of chopping and sauteeing; after dinner clean up.
you bring me pedialyte popsicles and veggie broth when I am sick; make an at-home movie theater in my bedroom and tell me my forehead doesn't feel that bad.
the wooden beams that hold my place together serve as apexes of our time.
the cream crochet couch, wooden coffee table, and white tiled sink all representative of the times we'd shared our lives together.
2203 w main st
You text me your address and I cross the bridge into Illinois.
The handful of train tracks on Highway 14 lead me to the one nearest you and give me glimpses of your campus from either side.
I picture you walking around campus in your soccer uniform, or jeans and docs.
You wait for me on the stoop for me, reaching for my hand as you lead me upstairs.
I could tell I would be comfortable in this old Illinois house; your soft lighting and essential oil aroma.
After your soccer game, we'd walk back to your house, a bike in between us.
I'd run to the other side and kiss your sweaty cheek.
Our backs against the creaky radiator, glancing up between quizzes.
In the morning I would pack my bags to cross the river again. Peaking over the acorn-dotted window edge as your housemates went to class.
When we ate breakfast on the roof outside your bedroom window I knew that I loved you.
You found out you loved me when the room was dark and my face was lit by the streetlamp.
And soon told me so.