This city is a swamp. Not metaphorically: as real as the mud that clings to my shoes when I get home. The air is wet and cold, and it makes my nose run like a drain pipe.
When I realized you would be gone for another week, I knew that by the time you came back, the building would have been swallowed by the muck. Everything would be gone in the years of your absence; as if the cold made the clocks tick just a little bit faster.
Until then, until I too have been enveloped, I will try to remember the smell of your hair: maybe like that bottle of white wine that we shared in the summer of 2015, just before you went back to the States, when you first kissed me. We sat by the river and we talked for hours, and I can’t remember a single word that was said.
Or maybe like the first meal that I had when I visited you in New Orleans, sitting outside a diner that was painted blue. It was the first time that I had huevos rancheros, and the first time I saw you in months. You told me to try putting Cholula on it.
Or maybe your hair smelled like the distillery that we visited in Dublin. My mom was with us, and you were profoundly scared that she wouldn’t like you. She did.
Or maybe—and I promise this is the last reminiscence that I will throw at you—it smells like the first time we visited our new apartment, when you saw all the promise it held, and I just saw how much work it would be to move. I thought we did a good job of making it a home, but now, with you gone, I realize that it isn’t a home without you, it’s just another apartment.