I Saw Ryan Eckes on the Street Today

September 12, 2011

You were walking up Montgomery, in a white shirt
and tannish pants. I’d just come out of my building. I was leaving. It was already after 5:30
and I paused before going down the stairs of Conwell Hall. I wanted to fix something in my bag.
When I looked up I saw you at the stoplight and then the stoplight changed and you began to cross the street.

Six years ago we met in a classroom
on the tenth floor of Anderson Hall. You were married.
I was twenty-five. So I guess you were, too. I think we’re the same age.
I was chasing boys, chasing things like feelings. Strong feelings.
In grad school you studied poetry. I studied fiction. We were going

to be writers. Are we writers now? You are. People like your work a lot.

I do. I’m still trying to sweet talk people into liking mine.
I looked down Montgomery, to see if my fiancé was coming. We meet

every day after work and walk to the parking garage and

take the new car home. To our house. Today he was

taking me to a dinner with my lady friends from AA. At the last second

I thought to rush to meet you and catch up. Say hello. But I just stood there
watching you cross the street and head for the train. I thought,
It’s good I’m not nineteen and sitting in your poetry workshop. I’d have been nuts for you.

Do you know what I just thought about? This one night, in 2005

at the beginning of grad school we all went to see

a film adaptation of Tony Takitani. It was so quiet and strange. Like a cartoon

where the shape of the figures' eyes seems to vibrate. Everyone from the program

was ripping it to shreds afterwards. But you stood on the sidewalk under the streetlights

and you said, I liked it.

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