I drove by you tonight . . . as the sun was taking its final bow, nose to the stage, before completing its final descent in a yellow-ish haze that reminded my eyes what your cigarette smoke felt like. I drove by you . . . and knew it was your truck without having to see the house it was parked in front of, without having to see your blue pools of knowing turned on me, without having to see you at all. I knew it was your truck from its blackness - a black so deep it met me mark for mark on what we shared; I knew it was your truck from its license plate - it's been the same for a while now - through that marriage of yours, and the birth of that look alike of yours, and the nights I snuck out to allow you to sneak in; I knew it was your truck because of the bed - I wonder if whomever named the bed of a truck knew just what they were implying . . . just how much like a bed that truck bed would come to be.
I drove by you tonight . . . shortly after realizing I really might not have all the answers and proper timing for this life I'm living, for this heart of mine. I drove by you . . . shortly thereafter returning down the long and twisted history that has our names etched across its bodice. Shortly thereafter, I recalled the cold porcelain and its biting answers to my tears as I waited to see whether two lines would be drawn; shortly thereafter, I remembered the nicotine lacings of your breath whenever you drank from a bottle; shortly thereafter, I remembered the fallacies I cast to anyone who would hear - that it wasn't that bad, you knew what you were doing, you worked really hard; shortly thereafter I remembered how green with white-hot disappointment I became, that one night by the pool, when you were still attached to a ring and you wouldn't put your lips on mine.
I drove by you tonight . . . and thought about how before now, before this time, I would have stopped and simply climbed into your truck, and you would have looked at me, and you would have known. I drove by you . . . recalling all the useless, wasteful no's I shot at you, with huntsman-like precision, only to say yes, okay, this is the last time; I drove by you . . . recalling the way your voice sounded when you sang along to the shaky, country radio station - and the whistling - I always was a little jealous of your whistling capabilities; I drove by you . . . recalling how your steep voice over a phone line, giving me no answers, was still not enough to clip this limping connection between us; I drove by you . . . recalling the last time I said it was the last time - I was over you, no longer getting under you, and there you were - still under me, this flesh, just go.
I drove by you tonight . . . then I unblocked you from that social media temptress and told you I hoped you were well - and I really meant it - I hope you are well . . . but I hope you miss me, too. I drove by you tonight - then I remembered how I made this decision - to walk away, to have the final word, to rise above this cyclical desperation we so willingly free fall into for each other; I drove by you tonight - then I took a deep breath, put my foot further into the gas pedal and shook loose the haze that clouds my vision and chokes my airways; I drove by you tonight - then said aloud to all the doubts swimming laps - I came out of the woods by choice.
I drove by you tonight and remembered the way you used to say baby and how I was the first girl you loved. I drove by you tonight and remembered all the panicky moments between feeling you and feeling terrified because of it. I drove by you tonight and remembered the silence that crackled response to my questions of 'why ,'when you picked up and moved, when you got her that ring, when you called to say it was over.
I drove by you tonight and realized I'm not saying what I want to say and meaning it, too, but . . . I drove by you tonight and knew I was one step closer to be able to drive by you and not look back just one - last - time.
I drove by you tonight . . . so I kept driving.