Clap


Our eyes find one another from across the room.
For a few seconds, we connect, we are one, we are not wrong for each other.
But then you break the connection--you look away, you stare at your shoes.

And my heart cracks.

I try to tell myself, he isn’t worth it, he is not.
But then you come over and talk to me, clearly nervous, and our conversation is choppy.
We aren’t naturals with each other. Moreover, we can’t even look at each other.

This wasn’t meant to be.

I look at the way you walk away from me.
Your shoulders slumped, your back hanging low. I just wish that the universe could be wrong.
For just once. That what the universe ordained as “right” and “wrong”, wasn’t right.

But the universe is never wrong.

We keep trying to talk.
We keep attempting to defy the gods that so badly wish to crush our hearts into pieces.
And every time that we walk away, we find each other hurting.

And not in a good way.

I try to distract myself.
I go out with other boys, I manage the basketball team, I get the biggest role in the school play,
And the list goes on. But all the time that I spend trying not to think about you, that’s all I do.

I think about you.

And not even some of the time.
It’s all of the time. When I’m brushing my teeth, when I’m running in track, when I’m on stage.
And even when I was on stage, singing as the lead in the play, I thought about you.

And how you sat in the first row.

The way you clapped.
The way your eyes beamed. The way you stuck your two fingers in your mouth to whistle.
I was in love with you then. I couldn’t say it because I was with someone else.

But I loved you.

Now I stand ten years later on the same stage.
It’s the one day that the class of 2016 can visit the school. And I run the whole play.
In my time, in my steps, in my voice. I’m under the impression that the theatre is empty.

And as I bow, you clap.

You ask me to perform again.
I laugh. I ask you how you are. And you tell me you are happy, you are healthy.
And when you ask me the same question, I tell you the same thing.

And this time, our conversation is not choppy.

We part ways, feeling the same.
The same longing, the same emptiness. I watch you drive away in your red sports car.
I turn and catch the bus, dropping two coins in a bucket. I get off five stops later.

All I think about now is that day.
I sit here, in the small library of Rutgers, wondering how well you’re doing at Yale.
I never got another call, another text, another anything from you.

You were gone.

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This Poems Story

A pair of lovers who did truly love each other but weren't ready. At the end of the day, they went on their separate paths, where even though the connection was still strong, was let go of.