Should Have Known

We’re standing on a corner in Philadelphia, en route to Pat’s. She’s brainstorming a poem and I’m jotting down the words that stick out to me on the palm of my hand. Words stumbling and tumbling out, one after the other, until she’s stuck on a verse. We cross the street and she tells me she tried her first cheesesteak the day before in Baltimore and I tell her it doesn’t count. I don’t see her for months at a time but nothing really changes. She still smiles when she speaks about her plants. Her eyes expand and squint as she tells me tales of her succulents and her rooftop vegetable & herb garden with a perfect view of the tower. She asks me how things have been with me and my eyes scan the ground, searching for something and nothing to focus on. She tilts her head down until her eyes reestablish the connection. It’s a bit unsettling how much easier it feels to breathe around her. That meditation level, deep breathing kind of breathing. She once told me she liked how my brain worked and I couldn’t fathom the concept. I can feel her touch as she holds my hand and reads aloud the words I had written on my palm, gently squeezing the syllables.

I don’t remember how she left but when I woke up I had this intense need to talk with her. This was the first time in three months that I dreamed of her.

In actuality, the last time we saw each other – I flew across the Atlantic, landed that morning, got drunker than I intended to because of my 10-hour jet lag, met up at our friends’ show, had an absolutely flawless evening, planned a coffee date the next day before my flight home at 1pm but I ended up spending $1200 to fly home six hours sooner. I could try to understand my reasoning but it’s useless. I think about that missed coffee often.

I really should have known it was a dream. She’s vegan. She would never eat a cheesesteak. Even if it is from Pat’s.

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