I’ve been facing Sundays the same for a while now. The whole day feels like one of my quixotic childhood summers slamming shut. And, like that younger me full of dread, I’ve thrown off my sleep schedule Friday and Saturday night—now in smoke-filled bars rather than basements, with innumerable pitchers rather than late night video game sessions—and when Sunday burns its morning light through the blinds, it’s all reprisal and Come to Jesus. But I’ve sworn off church. There are other Sunday rituals.
The ritual started years ago. Of course, it wasn’t a ritual when it started, and I never thought it would get so serious. I was younger and you were you. I guess what I mean is that at first I never knew how to read you. You weren’t there and then you were. You’d come and go, and I’d always find myself at the same spot whenever you came around. I’d watch you like an old creep at a stripper joint, scanning you up and down, trying to figure out what made you you. At first I thought you were a little goofy, to be honest. The way you jumped out windows, yelled wannabe catch phrases, re-appropriated characters and tried to make them your own. I guess that I never thought it would last—could last. I didn’t know that as time went on, you’d get serious too. Very serious, even, maybe more than me.
Though, to be honest, our relationship was a little more new-agey than I thought it’d be. I never saw myself in such an open thing—where I’d have to share you. But, as you grew to know more people, I saw you changing. I don’t know, maybe I thought you were happier. What was really happening, though? Were you escaping inside yourself or relishing the attention, knowing it wouldn’t last forever?
I’ve never asked where you’ve been or where you’re going. Those are simply facets of our relationship that I knew I had to accept if I wanted the relationship to last. Always, though, I knew you’d come back. I knew we’d have our time together, our Sundays. Now it looks like it’s over for good, except for this last time, when you’ll grab your things and I’ll wring my hands. I know I’ll try to remember what you taught me—that I have to accept our relationship as a whole, and to not let it be defined by its ending. I’ll do my best, but it’s already slipping. I can’t tell what is real and what’s nostalgia and what has been faded and warped by memory. I can tell you that I’ll remember you leaving, never to come back and, of course—even remembering what you taught me—my last impression will be my last impression.
Will it be disappointing, this final fling? Will, when it’s over, we stay for a while in the same room, unspeaking, surrounded by darkness, unwilling to part? After that, though, I will forget you, I keep telling myself, I will—
I’ll find other things to do. Maybe I will extend the weekend into Sunday night, travel back to the bar and double up on the caffeine on Monday. I will let our day turn back into my day, where I do whatever I want and, as time goes on, think of you less and less often.
Or maybe I’ll move to the mountains when your bags are packed and you’re gone for good. I’ve always been told that a change of landscape won’t matter much when it comes to love and vices, but what other shot do I have to forget you? I think you’ll live in the highlands, the lowlands, the badlands, the heartlands. I think we’ll never meet again, but I’ll see you in everyone. I think you’ll be in the dust in the air, no matter what sunbeam is cutting through it.
I know that it isn’t the same as when it started. That it has to end. That everything has to end. We’ve lost a lot of what we had. It’d be foolish to think that it was all still there. Even so, I regret losing it. It always seemed salvageable even when I knew it wasn’t. It always seemed like one day I could wake up and it’d be the first day we spent together—me, full of nervous energy. You, still trying to win me over.