What faults of mine have you inherited? Do you hear the echo carried in the wind, whispering your name off some distant shore of a shared memory? And, do you look back at them lovingly? Wondering if maybe, just maybe, if I had been a better man, see some future that would never be come to life, sucking in the air straight from the lungs of a failure into something much more? And do you ever remember the words whispered to each other as the sheets, dampened with our sweat, clung to our bodies that summer day after a fight (and who says make-up-sex isn’t the best?)? Do you wear the scars like a road map, keeping score of where you’ve been and not where we’re heading? Like head on collusion, never speaking as we watched time slip by with the future was still ahead of us.

To the women I’m fortunate enough to have loved. What misfortunes inherited have you shrugged off your shoulders, a negligee of neglect. Days when I vanished, having you wait by the phone wondering what version of me would come home. Thank you for the days spared to me. For the warmth of your arms, holding me when the world seemed to big for me to perceive. Thank you for the inspiration, ambition, and depression. For withholding the knowledge that you knew I’d written our break-up poem the day of our first kiss. Thank you for holding open the door, knowing that no matter my passion, my exit route was mapped out months in advance. And thank you for leaving the porch light on, knowing that I’d come back seeking out the answers of what I did wrong.

For all the hours we spent together, talking on the phone, texting past reasonable hours, sitting in the parked cars outside abandoned homes, hands in firm grips because we both knew that I was a flight risk no matter how happy I’d become because I knew there was always an opportunity for me to fuck this up. For the days we spent on beaches, on patios, in diners and kitchens making homemade pizzas that we wound up burning because we were young and easily distracted. How I count the seconds until the day I cross your path and see a familiar smile spread across your face. And you pass me by without a second glance, an unrecognizable relic from a life long forgotten.

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