It was July 4th. I made you drive up to that beach town my parents used to take me to when I was little when I still loved getting those candy lipsticks at the little tents in the park. I was wearing real lipstick this time. You hated me for making you drive two hours up the coast to no man's land, probably still do. The fireworks were gorgeous, the first time you ever saw them over the water. I got lost in the way the warmth of your breath raised the hairs on my neck as we looked on to our second 4th of July together, entirely forgetting that you had to work the next day, we still had a two-hour drive back, and we still had not eaten dinner.
Pizza Hut was the only thing open. I hated pizza, still do. We ended up eating an entire large pizza in your car in the parking lot of a Wings beach store. I said since it was already the middle of the night anyways we should go into the famous original Ron Jon's.
We spent eternity, drunk from sleeplessness, roaming the wooden floors that had witnessed everything from when my parents took me there in my stroller, to my first week of college in South Florida, to now, with you.
We wanted that night to last forever. Even then I had a sense that our time was ending soon, and I wanted to breathe in every moment we had left and let it soak into me. I wanted to remember how much I loved you, even after. Even when I was angry and hated you.
I bought us matching wooden surfboard keychains, like the one I had on my very first keychain when I was sixteen, and you bought us matching surfer mugs.
I found that mug today. I was running late, between meetings, trying to eat a cup of Culver's chili while searching for an old list of hashtags I hung in my office in NYC. I opened a desk drawer where I had stuffed all of my things from my office in the city and was completely caught off-guard by a perfectly wrapped silhoutte of a surfer mug. I did not need to unwrap it to know the keychain was tucked neatly inside. I quickly closed the drawer, decided the list of hashtags could wait and grabbed my things for my next meeting.
I never opened it; I never used it, and now I can't. How could I possibly have a mug here, in this new city, this new home, this new place, that has anything to do with you? I never unwrapped something so important, so lovely, so meant to bring only love. It never even knew one day beyond the day it was bought.
And there are so many parts of you that I never unwrapped and so many parts of me that you never unwrapped. Parts of ourselves that could have provided so much love and grace if we had taken the time to unwrap them, but will remain in a desk drawer, probably soon to be a trashcan, where they will never know what it feels like to be unwrapped.