How To Never Go Home Again (for Cariño, forever.)
There are two ways to find someone. One is to look for them. The other is to stop looking altogether and let them find you.
If you leave my city and head due west, the streets eventually begin to tick by in lettered groups—Kildare, Killpatrick, Kirkwood, Lamon, LeClaire, Lichen. But the science of these streets is not exact. You will cross Oak Park and Oketto and be waiting for Olcott and you will cross Harlem and for a minute be frightened that you have to start all over with H. This is how it felt when you, infrequent, called. For a moment, I was afraid that I had lost my way until I realized that you hadn’t reset me: I was always traveling towards you.
It’s true what they say: you can never go home. I can feel it stinging my eyes in the airport, I can feel it stiffening my spine. I used to see you on every street corner and ache for your fingertips in the roots of my hair. But when I am navigating the roads we used to walk, I can feel a sickness coming on and for once I can tell you’re not the cure. You’re the whole damn disease, baby, and you always were.
I fell in love when I was nineteen and I still believed in all the wrong platitudes. If you love something, let it go. And so I let you go, and you came back to me with teeth. You came back to me in the dead of night, soaked in cheap tequila with guilt scrawled in the brackets between your hipbones and when I licked them salaciously, I could taste it. It was bitter behind my lips and I sometimes wondered if she knew. But I still let you crawl from her bed to mine on your bleeding knees, fallen.
I never knew how easy it was to forget someone when they only exist in starlight, when we are both liquored up with nostalgia. I never knew that when the sunlight hit my skin in the city where I left you, you wouldn’t recognize me anymore. But I’ve learned that it is only easy to love something when it doesn’t exist.
There are a thousand ways to lose someone and I am just now realizing that I have lost you in every last one.