The Pork & Pickle restaurant in Kansas City International airport serves surprisingly compelling coffee. That John Legend song you sang to me with utter sincerity and unfortunate breath croons from the sound system and I think fleetingly of texting you. The restaurant is unpretentious, quietly holding the set for a harried waitress. It spills the rich scent of barbeque into the concourse of an odd little airport that feels like a European railway platform. From where I sit I can look right and see the passenger pick-up road, I look left and see an empty tarmac waiting patiently for the next plan to appear from the anxiously hovering clouds.
Part of me acknowledges that a friendship such as ours was untenable. We played make-believe with the best of them, though. Mostly, I’m proud that you had the nerve to walk away. You used to say you would write a memoir about us, and our improbable friendship. I hope you don’t- I’d much rather you finally built your own life, devoid of fantastical constructs such as myself. Such as the wardrobe of hair-shirts you tend to invest in. They really don’t suit you. But you always loved discomfort best, so whatever you end up wearing, I hope it makes you happy. I hope you take as much pride in your decision to walk away from me, as I took in my decision to walk away from my first love of many years. I finally got over that last year, I think. It feels strange not to have the grief catch in my throat when I think of him. Grief is not linear though, my lack of pain may just be temporary remission.
I detailed my own car the other day. There are no flowers on my dashboard, but I’m wearing the jacket you bought me about five years back. I’m happy. I’m loved. I’m sure you’ll hear about it from my mom the next time you two have coffee. She’s incredible- I hope you make the effort to stay friends with her.
Today, I’m going to sit in the dessicated remnants of our secret artichoke garden for a while. California will never be the same without you. Neither will I.