The Way We Were

There was never a time more empowering than the day I left.

You were sitting at the dining room table, putting cream in your coffee, as I lugged my suitcase out of our room. You didn’t look up, fixated on dipping your toast at your eggs. I fumbled at my coat pockets, checking to see if my car keys were there. I knew they were there of course.

As I opened the door, I heard you clear your throat. I turned back slightly, but you were just muching on your sandwich, your eyes glued towards the door of our fridge, full of pictures of the way we were. I closed the door.

My suitcase was light. A few shirts, pants, some underwear, and a couple of books. I have shipped everything important the week before. And as I sit in car, staring at the ignition, I flip open one of the books I had. Inside the pages of Das Kapital, an old love letter you wrote way back when times were better.

I knew the letter by heart, but then the words were just too jumbled up to make sense. You had written this for me back during our early protests at city hall. It was supposed to be for good luck. Here was I, the revolutionary, yelling at the institution, and then you were the budding young writer, always having the right way with words.

Back then, our differences seemed petty. Me and you against the world. We were in different directions, but I believed everyone when they said opposites attract. I believed everyone. We tolerated it at first, but when you’re rubbing hands with the right, and I’m meeting with the left, tolerance leads to resentment, leads to bitterness, leads to hatred. And as I crumpled your letter, I knew it could never really be over.

I started my engine and drove off.

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This is the 100 Songs Project, a 100-day writing challenge based on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs. Every day, I write a short poem, prose piece, or play based on, reacting to, rejecting, accepting, or doing something related to one of the songs in the top 100 list.

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