Our relationship, as it was, was defined by gaps. I’ve read stories and books about the romances of old, in which months passed in between love letters, so I’m not sure it’s fair to say the gap was time. The whole relationship, after all, lasted only a year, which is really just a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. It was intense, though, and I still think of her, late at night.

We met at a party, of course. I sat on a couch, and she was sitting next to me, and neither of us wanted to be there. I don’t remember who talked first, but it was probably her. She had this way of engaging, staring right into your eyes. I didn’t think she was beautiful, but I still couldn’t take my eyes away. We talked about rap, I remember. She said it was terrible, and I made fun of her. Then a Kanye song came on, and, without missing a beat, she started rapping along with the song, then stood up, pulled me onto the dance floor, and began to dance against me, our bodies pressed close. I didn’t know how to dance, but she was amazing. She was the music, and when the song ended, I didn’t want to separate myself from her. She told me she was going to get a drink, and asked what I wanted. I told her I wanted beer, and she laughed and said that I was too predictable.

Then she left, and she didn’t come back for like two hours. First I waited for her, then I went and explored the house for her, but she was nowhere to be found. I moped around the couch like a lost puppy dog, and I made weak attempts to hit on the girls around me, but none of them seemed half as interesting as she did. They couldn’t even hold a candle to her. I just ended up sitting on the couch, playing with my phone, like a loser.

She came back with frost in her eyelashes and two beers in her hands. She handed one to me and drank the other herself, just downed it. I asked where she had been and she told me she had been to a bar. Some guy had bought her a beer, she said, and then she bought herself one, and then she came back here. I think I should have been mad but I laughed and told her she was ridiculous, and she laughed too. She had the prettiest laugh. She asked if I had waited for her, and I said that I had spent my time chatting up a blonde. I don’t think she believed me.

We went home together that night. That seems to be the expectation, now, and I don’t really mind it that much. We met, we connected, we had sex. I think it was fun, but I was buzzed, so I probably remember it as better than it was. I hope she had fun. I remember laughing a lot with her, for no reason. It normally would have made me self-conscious but she was just so fun. She left after she was done, although I told her she could spend the night.

The morning after I realized I didn’t remember her name, and I didn’t have her phone number. I searched desperately on Facebook. I remembered her school and where she was from, and I had to search through a thousand girls before I found her. I added her on Facebook and hoped.

She took a week to get back to me and accept my friend request. As soon as she sent me a message I responded back, like a loser, but I missed her. I felt such a connection with her, and she hadn’t responded at all. The entire night felt like a dream. Our conversation took a day and a half (I had to factor in appropriate pauses so she didn’t think I was desperate, and she…), and eventually I asked her on a date. She asked if she could pick the spot, and I said yes. She told me she wanted to meet at the games store.

I thought she was kidding, but I showed up there anyways on Friday night. I dressed in my nice jeans and a tight t-shirt, because I had started working out more. She was dressed in a tight skirt and top, and I couldn’t tear my eyes off her. She knew it, too, and I’m convinced she spent extra long giving me a kiss on the cheek just to tease me. Nadia was her name, by the way. Did I mention that?

At the games store she picked out two Magic, the Gathering decks, and asked me if I played. I told her yes, because I had, although I didn’t want to admit how much I had. Basically it’s all me and my friends did in high school, and if it hadn’t been for sheer blind luck and a friend’s jealous ex-girlfriend, I wouldn’t have gotten laid until college. As it was, I was an MtG expert, and ready to smoke her.

The crazy thing was that she was good, too, and we got intense. I forgot it was her and I started playing really intensely, and she was playing intensely too. Meanwhile every nerd in the shop was looking at her, and I think she knew that too, the way she kept shifting to show herself off. I felt like flipping the table and pounding my chest to warn all them off. Instead, I beat her, and she fluttered her eyelashes at me and asked me what I wanted as my prize. Suddenly, I felt this strange surge of confidence in my chest, and I whispered in her ear, and she grabbed my hand and we went back to my place.

Then she didn’t contact me again for two weeks, ignoring all my messages, until then she burst back into my life again and we went on another date then back to my place again. Then a month wait before she was back. I swear, she was like a cat, coming in and out, never responding to anything I did but going on her own. I felt used somehow, although I don’t know how, because it’s not like she ever wanted anything from me. Maybe that was why I felt used, actually. I couldn’t figure out what she was getting, or what she was taking.

All I remember from that time with her is flashes of memories. Ice skating, dinner, skinny dipping, the park, getting a little too frisky on top of a Ferris wheel and getting scolded by a park attendant. They’re these vivid flashes, but that’s it. I can’t remember what we talked about, or spending quiet time with her. I don’t think we ever managed to watch an entire movie together, or even finish a meal longer than one course.

And so we went on, back and forth, for months. She’d come in, light up my life like a candle in darkness, then disappear. In between I’d be aching, anxious, on edge, desperate. Finally, I gave up. I got a girlfriend, and the next time she showed up at my doorstep, like nothing had ever happened, I told her I couldn’t be with her anymore.

Tears showed up in her brown eyes, and I felt myself close to crying too. You sure, she asked. Once more, maybe. I told her I couldn’t. She was standing just a foot away, but there was a gap between us, and I couldn’t cross. She nodded her head, turned around, and strode off into the snow. Each step she took I wondered if I should call out after her, but I didn’t, and her footsteps stretched further and further into the white. Then she turned the block and was out of sight.

I haven’t heard from her since, and that was a couple years ago. She deleted her Facebook and must have changed her number, because it goes to voicemail every time I try to call. I don’t know what happened to her. I never knew any of her friends or family, to be honest, and she never knew any of mine. She’s gone, but I still think of her sometimes, late at night.

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