O.

It never usually felt like the end, the close of another cycle, but this Autumn, the one after she’d gone, hit hard. I couldn’t blame her. God knows I’d tried but I really couldn’t. I fell too fast and too hard. And you had warned me that you wouldn’t, couldn’t. That if you fell, when you fell – you sensed that you probably would – that you’d descend gently, carefully. That you’d only just picked up your own pieces after last time you lost your footing and tumbled into something too quickly. It wasn’t that I didn’t listen but I couldn’t do anything about it. I went head over heels and figured I’d wait for you to catch me up. It’s a hard thing to fall like that, so suddenly, so violently, and to turn around reaching for the person who tripped you up, thinking that they’d be right there beside you, dusting themselves down, and to discover that they’re not. You were off balance but steadying yourself. I was splattered all over the pavement.

I’m not making excuses. I know that you could never understand how my feelings seemed to wither, just as this seasons’ leaves lay scattered like rust inflected relics of summer’s faded glory. And I’m sorry to wax lyrical. You never warmed to all that poetic stuff, early on when I was pouring my heart out. Or at least I didn’t think that you did but turns out the truth of it was that it did touch you, found a part of you that you’d locked up, stashed away so it was safe. I guess it was some of that stuff that helped you pick your way down to me. I took the short cut – pitched myself head first, head long into what I hoped was your heart. Knocked the breath out of myself in exhilaration. You were careful with what you considered precious. You were slow to love but it ran deep and left its mark – I was the wave, all crashing energy and pulled off my feet, and you were the steady, inexorable, relentless drop of water. My wave got us soaked but left no real mark in time. You etched yourself in stone.

But I was hurt. I was too exposed too soon and never understood your reticence. And you say that’s not fair and that I should grow up and that I should have waited and that if it was real it’d have lasted. And you’re right. But I was hurt and those feelings slipped away, silently stealing off into the night just as you were ready to take the final steps down to me. We should have held hands together and leaped. Or I should have taken your hand and we could have picked our way down slowly, together. Is that all love is ? Two people ready to fall at the same time, at the same rate ? It was too fast for you. It was too slow for me. By Autumn it was done.

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