If anyone asks now, I tell them: Paris is a beautiful city. I’ve never not thought this.

I hear she’s not there anymore, and I guess for a time she and it, the city, were one and the same, as in, she was there and I was not. I’m in this city, and six hours at the speed of sun separated us even before either of us stood up to move. Facetime and texts and emails made it easier but how easy could it be.

If anyone asks now: no, there wasn’t a happy ending. I’ve never expected one.

  • * * * * *

I do this sometimes, and I feel the blip of heat wash over my face when I catch myself: I fantasize about what could have been. Is it wrong that now I imagine more the things I could have done more than I recall her face, her smile, her eyes, or the feel of her nude body against mine?

Regret is an awful, terrible thing.

But it feels so tempting and bittersweet, the nostalgia mixing in gently with the sad and sorry feelings that bring at once the false hope of different choices and the sickeningly sweet fantasy of a life different than the one that envelops the reality of the present.

It is times like this, and maybe I’m wrong, but I force myself to recall that which I can have no regret over: the things that have passed and will never pass again – acts and motions and senses and

  • * * * * *

It was not the last time we fucked, that I choose to remember. It was some time before that, maybe around my birthday, some time she let herself into my apartment and she barely opened her small carry on luggage the entire time she was here. Some time, long ago, when I opened my door to see her waiting for me.

The door shut loudly behind me of its own weight as I kicked off my shoes and in three strides crossed into the living room and where she and I were suddenly face to face and without a word lip to lip and hands and arms wrapped around each other thirsty for each other’s touch as if it would never be quenched without drowning.

The couch was the closest and we collapsed into it together, hips suddenly grinding and those jeans were so tight against her legs and ass that I peeled them off of her so they flipped inside out before her ankles and feet popped out and she deftly reached in to undo my belt and my dress pants. Shirts were pulled up and over our heads and her hair ballooned out before splashing over her shoulders in a golden sunburst the last thing I saw before my eyes closed as I plunged in with my mouth.

It washed over me in waves and I swam up and against the current to meet her lips and the kiss on my lips like a breath to my lungs burning for air before the next wave flushed me down again deeper still and I swam with my body arms and legs and pushing and the current pulling me down and up and again another kiss before going under.

It was like this: it was like drowning; it was like swimming against the current, the pull of the water both so strong and fluid and yet the tighter I held on the more it slipped out of my grasp.

  • * * * * *

And this is what I choose to remember, like now, in the icy hold of New York City winters where you have to remind yourself of the shortest month as the coldest cruelest month in which winter decides to bare its teeth in a flash you can’t yet tell if will result in a bite.