A Shade of Despair Cast by the Brightest Sunrise


Everything lit up when I saw you:
The darkness of the night,
The wet cold of the snow that only came in sleet;
And looking through the window
As you made your ethereal approach,
I knew it was worth the wait.

You were late, as I recall,
But I would have sat that thirty minutes in anticipation
Thirty times over if it meant a fraction
Of the ninety minutes I spent with you
On that dark night
With the wet cold of the snow that only came in sleet.

I don’t know what I expected:
A half hour of your time exchanging pleasantries, perhaps?
A quick catch-up before you moved on to better things?
But I wasn’t ready—
Ready for the fascination you showed in me,
That I shared with you;
And I knew then, despite the years of grey comprising my life,
That this would be a memory bursting with color,
More vivid and vibrant than any day spent
In my loathsome, monotonous routine.

We spoke of everything that matters,
But everything you speak matters to me;
Every word, every anecdote, every story;
And we sat talking of the things we love—
Travel, music, reading—
The things that make sense in our realm.

Never did a snapshot
In the infinite continuum of the cosmos
Impact me so deeply,
That I knew even then
I would remember this forever,
And love you like no other.

And so you can imagine my despair,
My total lack of preparedness
And my loss of everything hopeful,
When I heard you say, “My boyfriend,”
And you weren’t talking about me;
And I knew then
I would remember that, too,
And never hold you
In a way that only I ever could.

I was completely rapt by you,
So that I was unaware of time
Or any other speck of existence
Meandering this once hollow planet
That I had just now attributed purpose to.

I loved how you never picked up your phone—
Never once checked the time or any message—
Because you were as entranced as I,
And nothing else mattered in that strand of time.

I never picked up my phone, either—
Never felt the urge to—
Because despite hating the consuming technology
And desiring at times to be as far from it as possible,
I thought of nothing else, was aware of nothing else,
But you.

I had cared about every syllable you spoke,
Clung to each sound issued from your lips,
As though there was salvation in each one;
And, by God, I swear there was.

I remained astute and caring
As you poured out frustrations
You wouldn’t dare share with your closest friends,
And I absorbed them like a sponge
Because it mattered to you,
And so it meant everything to me.

But these weren’t things for me to hear,
And it wasn’t my job to provide you
The solace you sought;
You belonged to another—
How could you belong to another?—
And soon, I realized, you would be gone from me
And return to him.

I remember what you were wearing that night.
How many others can say the same?
I knew what you were feeling,
Because I felt the exact same way.
I still remember you said you would text me,
And I knew it was a lie,
Because I knew how you felt,
And so you can’t come near me again.

I keep my phone next to me always,
The consuming technology I hate,
Because if I’m wrong—
I want to be wrong—
Then I’ll be assured
That snapshot in the infinite continuum of the cosmos
Impacted you as deeply,
And my life will have meant something, then.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. The boy who wrote about the girl who ignored her cell phone for him.

    It seems too simple from the outside looking in, but when you’re in that moment – when you feel the pierce of her eyes looking back at you, the weight on your chest – every nuance of existence is important and meaningful.


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