I drank champagne the day you disappeared, when I should have been concerned about how we didn’t meet in the exact known place at the exact agreed time. Worry should have been fighting for the better of me. It all should have mattered.
But you are a liar. I learned after my first marriage, liars don’t count. So I never counted on you showing up. I never counted on you for anything.
I visited a friend in Soho who updated me about his wife and their baby and their weekend trips to the Hamptons. I never mentioned you. And he didn’t ask. And that made me feel free from you. Like even though I remembered everything, everyone else had already forgotten.
The champagne set the tone for the evening. I decided I wanted French food and wound up at Tout va bien in Hell’s Kitchen. I guzzled Bordeaux and mopped up garlicky escargot butter with a crusty baguette. I slurped salty bowls of French onion soup topped with layers of sticky gruyere cheese. The waitresses didn’t speak English and the service was slow. I spent two hours there, scribbling in my notebook about your perpetual insignificance and my longing to repair anything broken that I encounter.
You were in Brooklyn shagging a fat Russian named Marfa. Her teeth are worse than yours. Marfa is a bartender from Volgograd. She doesn’t know you hit women. She won’t find out until the second month. But she’ll hit you back. It’s a dysfunctional match that fits you. You feel safer with an uneducated woman. Marfa would feel safer with a green card. You are comforted knowing that she can use you, it validates how you will use her.
I stepped out of Tout va bien into the first snow of winter. I watched flakes land on my wool coat and melt into the fabric. I smiled at the absorption, the gentle placement of each puffy fragment. You never penetrated my surface that way. Nothing about you ever occupied me like that, gently and unsuspectingly.
Back home, with a whiskey, I smile and raise my glass to snowflakes – and everything that effortlessly melts without leaving a noticeable scar.