That’s the only word for it. I feel heavy and lethargic and weighed down by all the things I want that don’t want me. I pull on my shoes and drag myself out for a run, because my apartment is too small, my presence too big, my restlessness, unbearable.
I pass the red awning of the cafe where we had crepes and coffee once, back when we were us. Then much later, those final beers, and after, you kissed me on the forehead and for a second I thought everything would be okay but it turns out nothing was.
I run through the outdoor terrace of the riverside club where I talked you into sharing my cab when what I meant was, help me escape. I blink and I see you there, I breathe in and I can smell the last breakfast you made for me – eggs on toast at 3am, somehow more intimate than anything else we’d shared. I wore those pink shoes, remember? I was invincible.
I lift my head and see the bridge where we kissed that day I was sunburnt and we drank rosé, and you held me and wouldn’t let me go, couldn’t tear yourself away. Later you’d tell me that we couldn’t see each other anymore because girls like me would take you away from the girl of your dreams.
I sprint past that stupid shitty Irish pub where we went the first time because I was trying to choose the least romantic place I knew, determined this could go nowhere, then later we came here because nobody we knew ever did. I hate that I think of you whenever I hear bad 80s songs.
I force myself up to the old cinema I planned to take you to, because you loved movies and I loved the history of places, loved standing in one spot and imagining all the moments that had been had there before.
I reach the last uphill climb before the tower and my breath catches in my throat, too constricted from holding back tears to breathe properly. I think of how I failed you, how I didn’t come home in time. How I didn’t get to mourn you, how much I miss you, how that loss still takes my breath away.
I linger on the corner, change the route to go past your house but of course, you don’t live there anymore.
I avoid entire arrondissements, scan faces in the crowd.
How dare we try to love, again? When the streets of the city are lined with ghosts we’ll never shake off? How do others be, in places where we were?
Do you see me, too?