I was sleeping in bed one day when Chuck woke me with a jolt.
“Hey, hey, guess what?” he said. Tomorrow isn’t coming anymore. What should we do?” he mused as he sat down by my nearly lifeless corpse.
“What…are you talking about?” I groggily replied.
“I was watching the news. Said Tomorrow’s not coming after all…” He paused. “It’s funny, everyone said it was a sure thing.”
I rolled around a bit, then sat up, feeling the pressure in my temples subside. “Yeah, I guess. I mean, everyone talks about it all the time. ‘Tomorrow’s gonna be a wild one.’ ‘Tomorrow’s gonna be hell.’ It makes sense to assume that what should come will definitely come, y’know?”
“And to assume is to make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me,’” Chuck laughed. “So, what do you wanna do for Today?”
“You don’t have any plans?” I asked.
“I did — but only for Tomorrow. Which is no longer happening. So I’m totally free. 100% free.”
It was rare for Chuck and I to do something together. Although we’d been living together for over a year, and dating for much longer than that — though our definition of ‘dating’ may be questionable — we didn’t spend much time together.
“It doesn’t matter as long as we love each other, right?” he asked me on our one-year anniversary. And he was right — we were both busy people with very established lives. At the time, I had just made partner with a large V100 firm and he was working towards a breakthrough in stem-cell-something-or-other research. We didn’t text much, or call much, or meet much. We didn’t randomly show up at each other’s flats when carnal nature called. My friends always joked around and said, “If he didn’t have a Facebook, we wouldn’t think he was real.”
But of course he was real.
You just couldn’t make what we have up.
Chuck ran back to the kitchen to map out our day while I went to take a shower. A spark of excitement surged in me as I wondered what he might come up with. The water trickled out of the shower head, growing gradually into a forceful stream. I thought about the rest of the town, probably agitated at the sudden cancellation of Tomorrow. So many plans to be unfulfilled, meetings never to come to culmination, events never to take place. So many people outraged because they had spent their lives waiting for Tomorrow, only for it to never make its way to our neck of the woods.
“But maybe they’ll see. Maybe they’ll understand. Today isn’t so bad, even if Tomorrow will never come.”
I can always tell I’m over someone when I can’t write about them anymore. Inversely, I usually realize that I’m falling in love when my words start to change color. As of now, my words are black, written on white sheets of paper. (Though I do sense the possibility of someone tinging them in the near future.)
i could vomit up our love story
if it still sat with the bile curdling in my stomach
but i upchucked it a while ago
when you shoved your fingers down my throat
forcing the words “break up break up”
until it all came up
i saw the pizza we shared on our first date
and the chocolate syrup once splayed
all over your naked body
i saw it all flash before my eyes like i was dying
and i don’t know why but somehow
i’m still alive
i’m still here huddled over the shitter
wishing you were here to hold my hair
but you left
It’s not exactly paying my respects, but I pass by your grave every morning on my way to work. I don’t know exactly where you lay, or the exact words engraved on your tombstone, or if your plot’s been kept tidy these past few years.
But every time I pass by, I think about how you continue to exist in a stasis under that cold, gravely ground.
They say life is defined in degrees of dynamism - we are always seeking to do more or to do less, to rise to the top rung of the social ladder or to escape to tropics with more leisure and less work - but you don’t think, or seek, or live at all anymore.
In the recesses of my mind, you are there, trading Pokemon cards with me or asking me to make you a mixtape. Perhaps in Heaven you are singing in God’s choir, finally living out your passion without the toxicity of the illness that robbed you of your talent and your life.
At least — I’d like to think that’s how you continue existing.
And yet the only image of you I can conjure up with clarity is of your body rotting, your casket rotting, and a moss-topped gravestone worn with age.
a year ago today
my heart was still healing from your departure
our imminent separation—
we embraced at gate 8
my head nestled in the crook of your neck
i didn’t cry prettily that day
but i cried honestly
searching you for parts of you
that might detach and stay with me
only to realize that all of you
was already packed away
you gave me a parting gift
your parting lips
(in exchange for mine)
you waved goodbye
as did i, with a smile
(though later on, i did cry,
finally feeling the weight of that word—
the tempered words that nonetheless fail to dissipate
the dormant words that sleep
encased in amniotic love poisoned by confusion
the words that feed off of feelings left unsaid
the words we forcibly lock inside our heads
the words we don’t want to say
that seep out of the pores we can’t conceal
and become the actions we can’t control
until our mouths forget the syllables to ‘i love you’
and ‘i’m sorry’ is an old saying whose meaning we can’t remember
glad that i can still pull three-page articles out of my ass while i watch the Chopped marathon on Food Network.