It was the day after the Fourth of July when I watched you walk away from me for the first time. Clouds brushed the sky with gray while the sun peeked over the mountains, and you turned and waved while tears fell in torrents from my eyes.
May fifth was the day I saw your face again after years of waiting, years of aching. Hot air hit me, and I ran to you. I can still smell the laundry soap on your white t-shirt as I buried myself in your arms.
The last time I saw you was May nineteenth, another fierce Florida day, and my heart couldn’t stop racing, its beat floating somewhere near my stomach instead of my chest. You held me. I cried. You whispered you loved me, that it wasn’t over, and you waved goodbye.
I tell time in relation to when I last saw you. Was it before or after Johnny? This is how I orient myself in the world, in space. Before or after. You are my line. Before and after you.