The Bridge Walk
Was I wearing that mauve checkered shirt? I’m not sure. All I remember for certain is brown. Brown jacket and brown sneakers and my brown hair pulled back when the sun became warm. My pants were brown too, I think.
The afternoon we’d both thought of, but the bridge idea was mine. I’d wanted to walk across it for some time.
It was October, or possibly November. I wish I could remember better, to capture that day, that time, and preserve it in some gallery of my mind. What I do recall, though, are moments and feelings:
Someone so different, but like me too. The pessimism.
Anger I hadn’t seen before startled me, but I appreciated that something new and real was being revealed.
Exuberance over my recently acquired fit body that could walk miles without tiring. Carelessness in not realizing that the distance is not always as easy as it had finally become for me.
An extended joke about a bird (maybe a seagull?) and riding it in miniature form. Numerous callbacks.
How in a fog of oblivion I insisted a cappuccino machine was a cash register.
My irritation at children. And pets.
He didn’t hold my hand, not even when some misstep in the dark sent me tripping toward him. But later he told me he had wanted to kiss me that day.
In the evening, a dinner – a salad – and sitting flushed from so much walking.
And what happened after that? I must have gotten in the car and driven home from the restaurant. But it’s blank, a void. Whatever happened is lost from my memory. Gone.
What would I want to say, now, to the one other person who might remember that day?
Nothing seems quite right: You were a jerk to me on many occasions, rejected me, and broke my heart. (No need to narrate what we both know.) I’m glad you’re out of my life. (Unnecessarily mean and not entirely true.) I miss you. (Too close to true.) Go fuck yourself. (Too much crazy jilted anger.) Want to get coffee? (Doesn’t do justice to my not-yet-bygone desire to spit out the former.) Why did you never call me? (I doubt I want to listen to the response.)
Maybe: Remember when we walked across the bridge?
Since I don’t know how that would be answered – Is he lost in a haze of alcohol? pursuing some dream once confided to me? still pining for an old young love? with someone new? Is he better now? or worse? And would one or the other make me feel better or worse? – I would probably say as little as possible. Then walk on.
During the worst disappointments, I told myself I wished we’d never met; it would have been better, happier for me. But even as I thought it, I wasn’t convincing myself.
What else are beautiful October, or possibly November, days for, if not for walking across bridges? That I’m pretty sure of, and that I can remember.