In the dream, I was at a party that happened to be yours.
And in the dream, I wanted to avoid you but pick up something of yours before I left.
The night before you left, we sat in your old red pickup truck, or rather you sat on my lap in your old red pickup truck and you were strangely persistent about returning a small gift I had given you. Before kissing me.
The first time I wanted to say hello to you was in middle school when you were both what I wanted to be and who I wanted to be with. Maybe it was only one of those, maybe it was both. I still don’t know. But I was happy to have you as something to think about.
High school came around and our first bad relationships had ended. And our mutual friend wingman’d us together until we became “definitely better than my first relationship” to each other.
Until we got sunburned from sitting in a muddy apple orchard. Until you were saying you’d show up to my high school on my birthday with a present and a lunch date. Until we drove back to our middle school where we walked, you close to me, in the pitch black you were afraid of, to look at racing meteors that we would never have been able to see. Until we got tired of sitting under our middle school tree. Until we walked back to your old red pickup truck where you sat on my lap and gave me back the thing that would’ve made you feel guilty to keep.
I don’t love you. I think I never did. And you knew that you never loved me, you just liked how I treated you. And that’s okay now. It has been for a long time.
We never said goodbye. You just said you were sorry to tell you like this over text. You returned my hoodie two days later. The one with my last name written on the back that you wore at school while we were together. We never said goodbye. You just watched the red pickup truck hickey I left on your neck fade over the following days. And knowing that I’d left you with something that called for an explanation to my also fading friends at your school,
That no one knew who you were at my school, was pettily satisfying to me.
We never said goodbye. We just pass each other in the street of our little town, pretending we never said hello to begin with.