‘Inspired by Childish Gambino’s spoken word on “That Power” ‘
This is the first day of your vacation. Your parents were low on funds after putting down a payment for you to attend culinary school, but you manage to scrounge enough to come down to Iowa for the music festival. The city never looks as beautiful as it does during Blues Week. The streets are covered in white tinted Christmas lights, red caps and sun umbrellas.
You always loved blues, something you never shut up about ever since we first spoke. I used to wake up extra early every morning and log into my computer so we could talk about music, and other things. You worked in the afternoon and I worked nights, but those early hours where we were free to chat meant the world to me.
You told me you were coming down and wanted to see me. We made plans, and you made promises. I wanted to taste your cooking but deep down really wanted to taste your lips. You asked for a private tour, and even a massage. I told you only if I get to treat you to dinner. You smiled and agreed. You even pushed the idea of an adventure, a search for an unmanned piano so I could finally show you my skills.
Blues Week finally arrives and you text me the moment you land.
Throughout the week I keep my cool for the most part. We see other here and there, but you have friends to spend time with who don’t seem to enjoy my presence, so I stay quiet. The weekend is approaching, but you still have stuff to do, so I stay quiet.
Before I know it, it’s Saturday night. Your friend gets sick over a bad plate of chicken, so your day is cut short. I ask you to make sure we see each other tomorrow. You say of course.
You are obsessed with butterflies, and one of the over-priced jewelry vendors on the streets sells me a butterfly necklace that I know you are going to love. Its Sunday afternoon. I race through streets, drowning in a sea of base guitars and off beat claps. Though my ears are buzzing with the sounds of the city, my eyes are only looking for you.
You’re supposed to be the one finding me, but at around 4 o’clock I cave in and send you a text. ‘Where you at, pretty lady?’ I reach inside my pocket to leave my phone there, but my hand never comes out. I hold onto it just as I’ve been holding onto the idea that a cute girl like you could be into me.
An hour later I get a response. You’re checking out of your hotel, and need to catch a plane. You tell me to meet you at the front stage. Running through masses of sweaty bodies, I look for you. I keep looking, seeing you in ever long haired girl I come across. You message me again with another vague description of where you are; the building with a red roof. I turn on my heels, and head for the nearest building that matches your description. You say you’re sitting on the floor, but when I get there all I see is litter and dog crap. I look down the block, and see another red roof. Shit. I sprint, and barely survive the oncoming traffic, but it’s to late. By the time I show up, you’re gone, and I’m stuck covered in sweat that isn’t mine, clutching onto a necklace that no longer has meaning.
I stay there, hoping that my life is the ending of a cheesy romantic comedy where the guy gets to the airport to find out that the plane has just departed, but when he turns around he sees the girl never got on it. They embrace, and the credits roll.
This isn’t that kind of story; and I should never have wished it to be. Yes, it was sad to find out that after all that running that you were already gone, but that’s not what bothered me.
I’m not mad that you left when you had to. I’m hurt that you waited until the last minute of the last day to see me. I’m broken over the fact that all the promises, the moments and adventures you wanted us to go on meant less to you than live music and the movements of your group of friends. I asked you to do one thing; find me before you go. You couldn’t even do that, and I guess neither could I.
That day I learnt something. Now matter how solid someone’s words seem, no matter how believable they are, even the smallest of promises can be hollow. No one owes me, or anyone, a damn thing in life, and even if they claim to, I won’t trust the outcome until it happens.
I’m not saying this is absolute truth, or that it’s even the right thing to believe, but it’s what I learnt.
I wish I could say that our story ended here. That I gave up on it all, and moved on. In fact I wish this story had an end at all. Truthfully I’m still on the corner of that building. I’m still clutching on to that metallic butterfly. And you’re still not here, but you never were, were you?