I stood in the square alone, but you already know this. After all, you were the one who left me there, your fingers slipping through my own, your mouth brushing softly against my ear. You left me with words, but the rain was too heavy and swept them away. I never heard you. I just felt the hot breath of your intentions. When I turned my head to ask you what, you were already gone.
I didn't understand then. You were right there. I could still smell you, aftershave and tobacco smoke, still curled around my being. You were there, and then you were gone. Like a ghost, a spirit, but you were real. I could have sworn that you were real.
But then my eyes opened, and I think it must have been for the first time, because I saw things in such clarity that it made you transparent in retrospect. Bright electric bulbs. Black puddles of hot spring water. And the people, oh, the people, surrounding me in a press of late-night bargaining, their voices rising and reverberating against the stone walls with a strength you never had. They were real that night, so real it actually hurt, because it made me realize that you were never there at all.
I didn't look for you. I knew there was no point. You were a fantasy, a figment of my wildness. You were something I fell in love with when the world was too big for me to comprehend. Even if I'd found you in the crowd that night, I don't think I would have followed. You wouldn't have wanted that, anyway.
So I opened my eyes. I breathed in, breathed out. I asked a man wearing an old trench coat where I was.
He smiled at me and it was shiny like gold. "Don't you know, sweetheart?"
And I did.
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