[TEXT: You’re not going to hurt yourself…are you? ]
Philbrick B. Mussellwhite thought over the text question from his best friend Santander Diaz for a moment and then replied.
It was only 24 hours since Philbrick ran into his old girlfriend Polly Smitherstein from high school as they shared an impromptu bus-ride in midtown.
After the initial chit-chat and catch-up on kids and work he sat beside her thinking, what if?
What if she hadn’t dumped him?
What if she hadn’t married someone else?
What if their passionate puppy love had lasted more than a couple of months?
What if they had stayed together and he could still hear her magical voice and laughter and see her funny facial expressions every day?
What if the way he felt after kissing her soft cheek goodbye on the bus was the way he was really supposed to feel after a kiss?
What if everything he did and thought and said and accomplished and failed at and succeeded at all meant nothing at all after Polly broke up with him at that Upper East Side Diner that is no longer there more than 30 years later?
What if Philbrick had just given up completely and gone away forever after Polly had said goodbye.
Back into the earth, the sea, the sky?
The meeting to plan the brand pivot for the new company was slated for the following week and Philbrick was already on the lookout for a new lawyer to help troubleshoot.
There were new people to meet and work with but none of them were Polly.
None of them were magic.
None of them would make him happy.
None of them could help push away the sadness.
They were people and things and tasks and nothing much more than that.
They were necessary but uninspiring.
They were more of the same. Just people. Just things to do. Just new ways to waste time and effort.
They were just strangers who had problems and people who made dinner and ate cereal and owned pet canaries that went chirp.
They were not her. They were not it. They would never be.
Artwork by the author.