Drops of Jupiter, Part 4: A Broken Guy/Girl Friendship

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Our whole class stood in the hallway to view a critique

the first day of our last semester

and when you took your normal place beside me

I cut away to the far corner.

Confusion crossed your face

but you didn’t follow me.

When we chose seats

I deliberately picked a table

three rows away.

I pretended to ignore your shock.

My tears welled as you turned your back

because no explanation would satisfy

no matter how careful or kind.

When the twin towers fell

I longed to discuss it with you

at length, the way we talked

before, the way my husband

never enjoyed.

I missed my friend.

I watched you choose another girl

so quickly.

I cringed at your too-loud laughter

and your dramatic compliments

of her mediocre work.

We lived like miserable exes

still sharing living space

when they can’t afford to separate.

My projects languished while yours flourished.

For our fairy tale illustration

my Cinderella turned out cutesy.

Your Rapunzel was the beautiful Pantene model

in profile, her cascading waves

gently grasped by a strong male hand

in his gallant rescue.

Pent-up desire breathed from the pen-and-ink.

I withheld my compliment

not wishing to salt your wounds

but I yearned for your details:

How are you?

Where are you headed?

Can we part in peace?

The last time I saw you

we stood facing each other

in caps and gowns.

I made eye contact for the first time

in months, offering a small smile

to convey best wishes.

In your look disgust and spite stood

as your broken heart’s bodyguards.

Finally I turned away from your cold stare.

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