I won’t go looking for him. I admit lately he has been on my mind and I steal a couple glances from a distance, but I never find anything good when I do. I usually locate him lurking in a shadowy corner with some ingenue–yet another conquest.

I write through it. I write out the pain, the regret, the desire and the joy. I just keep writing and allow what will be to be. I trust that what is meant to come will come and what is meant to fall away will fall away of its own accord.

I choose to retire to the back office for a few hours and do some publishable writing. I won’t give up on my writing. There are still so many stories to tell. When I return to this room, after posting my daily bit for the feeds, I feel good about what I have accomplished. The room has cleared out substantially and the feeds are running at half-speed now, late as it is.

I need to stop chasing what I don’t really want. There is some regret and sadness in my decision to hold back my impulse, because the self-destructive part of me really loves doing the wrong thing. It feels subversive and more interesting, somehow. I’ve always been a rebel at heart.

I pack up my things for the night and head out the door. The full moon illuminates and accompanies my solitary walk to my car. I am exhausted, but I feel good. Prepared, for my next chapter.

I hear the sound of hard-soled shoes against the pavement. I glance over my shoulder to  discover him following me. I walk faster.

“Hey, slow down…” His voice. My nerve response is Pavlovian.

“Why?” I shake off the trembling feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Can we talk?”

“I don’t know…can we?”

I am still walking, still talking over my shoulder. I won’t look at him. I’m afraid I will lose my resolve.

“Hey, can you just stop for a minute?”

“Nope. I’m going to keep walking.”

I pass the parking lot and head down the avenue toward downtown. He follows.

“What happened? Why did you shut me out??” He calls out, breathless…trying to keep up.

Hah, I think to myself. He still smokes.

“I had to make a clean break. We were becoming too much of a habit. It was eating me alive.”

“Can’t we try again? Tell me you don’t want to…be honest. Come on, why won’t you look at me?”

He knows me too well. I am afraid if I turn around and see his eyes, his face—so close to mine, I will crumble to pieces. I will fall under his spell again.

I slip off my sandals and start to run toward the dark playground across the street. I don’t know where I am headed and I don’t know why, I just need to burn off this adrenaline. I need to clear my head. Sort this out. I run deep into the darkness, amongst the thick  gathering of trees that surrounds the play structures. The smooth bark is cooling against my cheek as I stop to catch my breath.

“Come on, then!” He calls from the sidewalk where he stands by the wrought iron gate.

“Keen for a game of hide and seek?”

Do I want him to come after me? Can I survive the soaring highs and crashing lows of our mutual passion? Is the pleasure worth the price?

“Well? What’s it, then?” He squints into the darkness in an attempt to locate my hiding spot, here behind the broad trunk of an ancient banyan.

“Do I have to come in there and track you down?”

“If you think you can!” I blurt out, before I have time to stop myself. I set off sprinting again, caution to the wind– glancing back over my shoulder with a mixture of  heady desire and genuine fear as he lets out a whoop and clambers across the dewy grass, leaving his shoes behind.