how strange to be strangers

Ten years have passed and unexpectedly
they share the same set of walls,
representing opposite poles of the same planet,
standing as far apart as space will allow.
Where their gazes used to attract they now repel,
bouncing off, pushing away from each other,
so no one else will notice that
they recognize themselves in the other.

He knows all the shades of her skin in summer,
the taste of her mouth at the beach.
She knows how it feels to curl up in his lap,
the sound of his laugh when she teases him.
He’s familiar with the exasperated roll of her eyes
and knows her favorite kind of pizza.
She remembers every peak and valley of his body,
and knows lines from all his favorite films.

They remember building a fence and digging a garden,
and leaving books on each other’s shelves.
They remember lazy nights spent entangled on the couch,
and choosing colors, fabrics, music.
They remember choosing a Christmas tree,
and hauling boxes into a new house.
They remember walking hand-in-hand to see fireworks,
eating ice cream on a porch in the summer heat.

But ten years have passed and suddenly
they are held by the same cage,
oil and water poured into a clear bowl,
pulling apart as quickly as reactions allow.
Where their spaces used to flow together they now stand rigid,
the tight discomfort of shoes that no longer fit,
hoping no one will notice that
they’re pretending their apathy.

(how strange it is
to be strangers,
for the first time
in their lives together)

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