I saw you on the street today and it almost gave me a heart attack. I was inside my usual cafe, grabbing a good Danish and reading the sports pages; just in case anyone needed a sportswriter I want to be acquainted with what’s going on in the Western League. The numbers on the pages though, all smeared and bled together when you walked past. I recognized your walk, and that way that you move your hips when you have somewhere to be. Nobody else in my life has walked like that, and when we were together, I made a point of falling behind you a few steps just to watch you; a work of art in motion, with a sly smile tossed over your shoulder for me to suck on like a lifesaver.

There was no sly smile today. I’m not even sure you noticed me with my black coffee, my Danish crumbs, and my newspaper. The music in the café stopped playing, or I stopped hearing it, as the moments you walked past ticked off in slow motion while I watched you flip your hair out of your eyes and look across the street at something. If I could have talked to you, if I still had that right, I would have asked you what you were looking at.

But I lost those rights, and others, a long time ago: the rights to your sly smile, the rights to your voice, and the rights to your love. When we were together, we shared rights; you had my mind and my soul and you had my words, and I gave you the rights to my good cooking, my good morning coffee, and to the knowledge that I loved you more than all of the others in this entire world. We were together in ownership, and we eviscerated anyone who came close to our circle of possession.

In hindsight, it wasn’t healthy, and I’m in a place now where I don’t feel as if my soul has renters. There was a time though, when I was blind to all of that, and cared about nothing more but how to give more of myself to you, so I could take more of you for myself.

I still miss that smile though.

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