When I walk through New York I almost feel a piece of him is somewhere, wedged in between the bricks of the building in front of me, or floating in the thick air I take into my lungs. Maybe I’m about to step on a piece of gum he chewed years ago. Maybe I’ll run into him at Whole Foods buying organic produce. His hair probably won’t stick up as much as it does now, but I’ll recognize his eyes, and the way his eyebrows bend down as if they’re tired.
I think of him when I’m in New York because he came here years ago to record. I remember talking to him on the phone as he walked through the Virgin Mega Store, amazed at the selection and never dreaming he would once have his music sold there, or that it would eventually close its doors. I wonder if I could find the studio he recorded in. I wonder if the paneling of the room is still as soft and velvety as it looked in pictures or if it’s now threadbare and faded.
I still remember the last time I saw him. It had been a year since we’d last spoken and I went to a concert he was playing. I wanted to see him one last time before I started a new phase in my life. There was no expectation or intention. I had cut off a foot of my hair, and he didn’t recognize me until I took off my sunglasses. Suddenly, a light went off.
A s soon as I could feel the pull, I turned around and walked away. I could feel his eyes burning into the small of my back as I made my way through the crowd. He wanted to ask me why I cut my hair, if I had a new boyfriend, why I hadn’t responded to his last email and if I had gotten a car for my birthday. Maybe he had a million questions, or maybe he had none, but there he was.
I remember walking up a set of stairs, and I looked back once, just once, before I turned around and disappeared into the crowd. I will never forget the look on his face, but I have long forgotten the heartbreak of that relationship. I can sometimes remember the pain, but it’s hazy and difficult to grasp. It’s like the jar on the top shelf that you can’t quite reach, no matter how many times or how high you jump.