In the end, it came down a walk to the corner. In the end all it was I turning the corner, and walking along the colorful construction fence toward my car. In the end it was her turning the corner, and walking towards her airplane home. At the end it was both of us standing back up after getting knocked around. After all, that is what I had loved in her, and what she has loved
We had met a year earlier, as I was in Germany
as an exchange student. She was bold, beautiful
and foreign. I was a wander, bold and intelligent. She loved me for a freedom I had never had before. I loved her for the attitude she used as her only weapon against a cruel world. And somehow, beneath that love, we grew to be friends too.
A year later, and it was summer again. I was moving to Rochester
for the summer for a job... As a freshman, I had already worked my way into a job in my field. Not half bad
( “Work is life for you isn’t it?” She had asked me once. I laughed and said “Escape is life for me.”)
She wanted to see me. Everyone told me that the timing was bad. Finally I started to ask them when would be a good time. No one could answer that one. So she came. A few deals, a few wrangles, a few discussions, and we did it. We managed to get her here. We managed to get back together.
But when she got here, and first went to the bathroom, and went to get a smoke before looking for me, I guessed something.
When she hugged me, and smiled as little as she could, I felt something.
A month later, when she mentioned she was going to Bill’s at 11:00,to get her portrait done, I knew something.
A month and a day later, when she broke up with me, I finally felt something.
The next time I stopped to think it was three weeks later. In those three weeks, I had taken Lotte to visit my family, moved into college. In those three weeks, she had returned to Rochester to live with a 31 year old she had just met. In those three weeks we had both destroyed each other in ways neither of us could explain. The next time I stopped to think we were on the road to JFK.
Lotte was going home, and I was going back to a life that was just a bit more mine than it was that morning. She mopped my head in water, and soaked my hat to stave off the heat. We both pulled towards and away from another, longing to kiss, but knowing it was not us wanting to kiss, but our memories of one another
We shared a last cigarette or two outside of the Terminal. We finally cried. Over innocence lost, over dreams broken, over love lost.
Mostly we cried because we lost. Our love did not conquer all. Defying what everyone told us was not easy. We cried because we did not win. We cried because we had not even survived.
We walked to the corner. We kissed
one last time. A chaste kiss, he kiss of friends that had been through a lot together, not the kiss of one-time lovers. She walked away around her corner, and I walked away around my corner.
Three steps. Three steps was all it took for my melancholy to dissolve into anticipation for the coming trip, the coming year, the coming adventures. And on the fourth step a released a barbaric yawp. And even as that yawp escaped my lips, I heard a woman’s voice around the corner sharing in my joy.
As everyone around me looked confused, I laughed, head held high, knowing full well that around the corner, one of the best friends
I ever had was laughing